1200km east of Moscow lies Kez, a rural settlement in the Udmurt district of Russia, home to the Kezsky syrzavod cheese factory, a jewel of energy efficiency. But it wasn’t always that way.

In search of environmental excellence

A jewel of energy efficiency in rural Russia

Kezsky syrzavod cheese factory has been in operation since 1936.  It currently makes around 9,880 tons of semi-hard cheese a year from milk supplied by local farms. It employs more than 600 people and serves loyal customers in the Ural economic region and throughout Siberia. 

The factory is now part of the KOMOS Group which demands a high level of efficiency from its production plants. This, combined with a temporary slowing of the Russian cheese market, meant that the factory needed to make improvements, particularly in energy consumption and water usage.  

Kezsky syrzavod has used reciprocating compressors for its refrigeration plant in its machine room for close on 50 years. Much of this equipment was outdated which created significant problems with maintenance, energy usage and water consumption. But its engineers are familiar with the technology and, although over 80% of the industry in Russia prefers to use screw compressors for refrigeration, they were keen to stick with what they knew best, if possible. Their primary aim: to reduce energy consumption by at least 30%.

Trusting GEA and ammonia

A jewel of energy efficiency in rural Russia

GEA had an existing relationship with Kezsky syrzavod. In 2013 the customer requested a proposal for an iced-water cooling system, using ammonia as the refrigerant, to replace the existing freon-based system and the existing old ammonia system that both had high energy usage.

After six months of discussions between GEA Refrigeration Russia engineers and the Kezsky syrzavod factory engineers and having seen the GEA technology in action at a reference plant, the decision was made. They accepted that an ammonia plant, using the reciprocating compressors that they preferred, would reduce energy usage. The project started in March 2016 and was completed 18 months later.

Andrey Leonidovich Matveev, master mechanic of the Kezsky syrzavod cheese factory, said that the management had decided to build a new machine room, using the newest and most advanced technology.  “We decided to create an energy efficiency flagship for the whole KOMOS group,” he said. “We wanted it to be an example for others.” Andrey explained that, having analyzed the market, GEA emerged as being the only company that was focusing on energy efficiency and this was the decisive factor in choosing GEA technology.

Andrey Leonidovich Matveev, master mechanic of the Kezsky syrzavod cheese factory

We entrusted the implementation of our dream to GEA engineers, so that they could create a unique solution and we could become the first in Russia.” - Andrey Leonidovich Matveev, master mechanic of the Kezsky syrzavod cheese factory

Efficiency and familiarity with GEA reciprocating compressors

The company chose to use GEA Grasso V 1800 and V 1100 series reciprocating compressors. “Reciprocating compressors use less electricity and we can easily maintain them ourselves,” said Andrey.  “The cylinder block does not need cooling with water and the oil usage is very small even without using oil separators.  That’s a very good feature.” In addition, Andrey said that the system can cool ice water without compressors in winter which also helps to reduce energy consumption.

A jewel of energy efficiency in rural Russia

“The GEA reciprocating compressor unit has a simple and understandable design,” he said, explaining that there are no redundant parts used: the compressor has just two pipes connected to it – suction and pressurization. Andrey also said that it was important for him that neither the jacket for the cylinder block, nor the oil, need cooling with water, as excess heat is removed through the compressor’s steel wall. “The oil loss, even using no oil separators under maximum condensing temperature, is impressive because it’s less than 11.2 ppm. In other words, to remove oil completely from the Grasso V 1800 compressor case takes 18 hours a day for 55 days when operating under 100% load. This is a very good feature.”

The flagship for the whole KOMOS Group

A jewel of energy efficiency in rural Russia

The project has been a success. Electrical energy consumption has fallen by 59% which translates into a saving in the order of €130,000 a year in power alone even with the current low energy prices in Russia. Besides reducing of energy consumption, the use of air condensers has reduced water consumption, which was one of the primary aims of the project. Additional savings have been made with reduced maintenance and labor costs. GEA is continuing to work with the company through a long-term service contract.

Andrey trusted GEA for the project because of its extensive experience as a global specialist in industrial refrigeration. Time has shown that this was the right decision. “It was the GEA solution that made it possible to combine fantastic hardware and unusual software algorithms,” he said. “The system reacts to any changes in the outer conditions with the precision of up to one degree. The management liked the result very much, and from now on the KOMOS Group considers our compressor houses a standard for the new projects.”

GEA project offering in a nutshell

  • Single stage compressor unit based on Grasso V 1800 reciprocating compressor x 2
  • Single stage compressor unit based on Grasso V 1100 reciprocating compressor x 1
  • Air cooling condenser x 4 
  • Lamellar heat recovery unit for a boiler room x 1
  • Circulation receiver x 1
  • Plate evaporator x2
  • Evaporator circulation pump x 3
  • The pump of circulation of "ice" water to the consumer x 3
  • Oil pan (with heating) x 1
  • Drainage receiver x 1
  • Shield combined power current and control
  • Set of fittings and instrumentation
  • Automatic separator for non-condensing contaminants x 1