Governments worldwide are on a mission to reduce their countries’ CO₂ emissions. At the United Nations COP25 Climate Change Conference, held in Paris in 2015, more than 190 countries entered a global pact to set their own targets for CO₂ reduction [Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)] with the aim of keeping the rise in global temperatures down to 1.5°C. COP26 in Glasgow, in October 2021, reaffirmed this position amid increasing clamor for less talk and more action to convert the wish list into reality.

How can we prevent our planet from warming up by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius? Talk is cheap, as they say, but action is not. This is especially true when taking meaningful steps to address climate change, which requires visionary leadership, long-term commitment, significant financial and human resources, and truly innovative technologies. This is the path we are firmly on at GEA as we focus on responsible stewardship of our global operations as well as the products and services that the divisions of GEA provide to help customers reach their sustainability-related goals.

At the GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies division, we know that our customers’ energy costs related to heating and subsequent cooling – especially for those in the food, beverage, and dairy processing industries – often represent the majority of their total energy consumption. Indeed, with about 60 percent of their energy costs attributable to heating and cooling, food manufacturers, for one, can improve efficiency in these processes by up to 70 percent. It is therefore incumbent upon us, as leaders in the industrial cooling & heating space, to help customers reduce their energy usage and, in turn, their carbon footprints.

Inspired by our roots

Blacksmith shop and Willem Grasso
A forerunner of GEA Refrigeration Technologies, this blacksmith shop was founded by Willem Grasso in 1858.

Our long and deep-rooted history of innovative and sustainable industrial refrigeration & heating technologies dates back to 1858. Since that time, success has been built upon perseverance, exceeding customer expectations, and continual innovation.

Today, we at GEA Refrigeration Technologies humbly stand on the shoulders of those who came before us as we strive to continue to earn our position as industry leaders. Our deep roots nourish our enthusiasm to drive today’s innovations needed to serve our customers well and contribute to addressing the global climate issues that affect us all.

Cool solutions for hot topics

GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies provides an extensive portfolio of sustainable refrigeration and heating solutions aimed at reducing both energy usage and carbon emissions. Our energy-efficient screw and piston compressors, compressor packages and chillers utilize natural refrigerants, including ammonia. Ammonia is a natural refrigerant with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 0 (zero), meaning it doesn't add to the greenhouse effect linked to global warming.

In addition to the use of natural refrigerants, another hot topic these days is the use of heat pumps for industrial applications. GEA recognized the application potential and benefits of heat pumps in production early on and became a pioneer in the field of modern heat pump technology. Our proven lineup of GEA heat pumps provide customers with significant, measurable operational benefits and well as a future-proof solution that helps them to achieve their sustainability-related goals.

GEA Red heat pumps
GEA’s comprehensive heat pump portfolio includes standard screw- and piston-compressor-driven models as well as custom and open-type heat pumps. Pictured: GEA Red heat pumps.

Adapting modern, breakthrough technological advancements to the products and services we provide is a primary focus throughout GEA, and digitalization is no exception. GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies took digitalization to a new level in the industrial refrigeration industry with the invention of its GEA Omni control panel. Featuring a high-definition, multi-touch human machine interface, this digital powerhouse provides operators with intuitive, fingertip control of their system.

Omni control
The GEA Omni control panel helps to maximize energy efficiency and enhance the performance of process-critical cooling systems for a growing number of the world’s essential food and beverage producers.

With the GEA Omni control panel’s abundant capabilities, operating expense can be significantly reduced. For example, GEA Omni’s Energy Management function is designed to enable users to evaluate system energy usage and effectively reduce operating costs by finely controlling key aspects of their process to utilize the minimal amount of energy required.

Through a fine-tuned approach to compressor control and sequencing, condenser control and sequencing, refrigerant vessel and pump control, evaporator control and a myriad of reactive and proactive energy management techniques, GEA Omni’s Energy Management function delivers on the bottom line while contributing to the achievement of companies’ sustainability-related goals by reducing their carbon footprints.

Putting it all together – applying a holistic approach

With its Sustainable Energy Solutions (SEnS) service offering, GEA is helping to take energy efficiency in food and beverage manufacturing to a whole new level. SEnS stands for a holistic approach that draws on GEA's proprietary expertise in processes and supply. By taking a full-scope approach to production processes – including heating and cooling solutions in the design and implementation of plants – GEA helps its customers to significantly reduce operating costs and energy consumption. Greenfield and brownfield projects are particularly well suited to benefit from SEnS, though significant improvements can also be made to existing facilities.

GEA’s unique ability to apply extensive process knowledge and expertise with integrated, sustainable cooling & heating solutions benefits customers around the world — as well as our world itself.

The United Nations Environmental Programme’s Cool Coalition

GEA is a member of the Cool Coalition, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). By fostering dialog between governments, business, finance and civil society, the initiative aims to drive the use of efficient, climate-friendly cooling in urban environments, buildings, and industrial processes worldwide.

GEA refrigeration and heat pump plant installed at Wipasz — Poland's leading poultry producer.
GEA refrigeration and heat pump plant installed at Wipasz — Poland's leading poultry producer.

As the planet heats up, according to International Energy Agency (IEA), it’s estimated that we will require 3.5 times more cooling by 2050 than today. At present, refrigeration and air conditioning systems already consume around 15 percent of global electricity production. In its new climate strategy, GEA recently announced it would give priority to driving sustainable innovation in technologies that remain energy-intensive, such as refrigeration technology. 

There is an urgent need for our industry and those it serves to become more energy-efficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By joining the Cool Coalition, we aim to share our expertise and add impetus by facilitating the transition toward climate-friendly cooling and heating solutions." Kai Becker, Chief Executive Officer – GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies

For decades, GEA has been paving the way to forward-looking refrigeration technology with numerous initiatives and technological developments. For instance, the aforementioned GEA Sustainable Energy Solutions program has combined plant process technology and utilities solutions since 2018. Thanks to this interdisciplinary approach, customers from a wide range of industries benefit from energy-efficiency optimization strategies. Instead of going the usual route and treating heating and cooling as separate from the process technology for manufacturing consumer goods, GEA’s cooling and process experts work hand in glove when it comes to planning requirements and designing production processes.

Big thinking, bold action

While GEA Heating & Refrigeration Technologies, and its sister GEA divisions, provide leading technologies and expertise to help our customers improve operations and meet their sustainability goals, GEA Group as a worldwide company is also looking inward to reduce its own carbon footprint thoughtfully and aggressively as part of its overall commitment to a sustainable future. In fact, GEA Group’s climate strategy commits to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions along its entire value chain by 2040.

GEA is taking bold action to support the global transition to a net-zero economy. Our new climate strategy positions GEA as the leader in our peer group. We are incorporating our entire value chain into this effort, tackling both direct and indirect emissions. And by doing so, we are taking clear action in line with GEA’s purpose — ‘engineering for a better world’." Stefan Klebert, Chief Executive Officer – GEA Group

At GEA, ‘engineering for a better world’ is brought to life by placing a strong focus on innovative, technologically advanced, sustainable solutions for our customers; contributing expertise and thought leadership in high-level global forums; and applying aggressive carbon-reduction practices throughout our worldwide organization. Learn more about GEA’s sustainability platform.

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