Thermal topology optimization and flow simulations have huge potential in terms of making various processes in the Danish industry more energy-efficient. The Danish Technological Institute is uncovering this potential along with several other partners in the Easy-E project, which is supported by EUDP. Gram Equipment is one of these partners, and in the project they have investigated the possibilities of making a cooling tunnel for cooling ice cream more efficient – this will benefit the production costs and CO2 account for Gram's customers. The approach to solving this case has been using simulation processes.
In short, the Easy-E project is about reducing CO2 emissions in the Danish industry using thermal topology optimization. Thermal topology optimization sounds technical – and it is - but it has great potential when it comes to saving energy. Thermal topology optimization is a design method based on mathematical modelling, where you calculate the thermal loads related to heat transfer, flow, and cooling.
- In the Easy-E project, we work with different industry cases. Among other things, we investigate heating of cake batter and freezing of cream for ice cream. In addition, we also work with energy optimization in general, since in some cases we are dealing with large systems, where a more classic simulation approach is more suitable, says Christopher Klingaa, Center project manager at the Danish Technological Institute and work package leader in the EASY-E project.
Integration in the companies is absolutely essential
In order to make topology optimization and simulation processes widely available in the industry, it is absolutely essential to have the industry partners involved, as they represent the issues that Danish (and international) companies face on a daily basis.
One of the industrial partners is Gram Equipment that is headquartered in Kolding, Denmark. The company is a leading global supplier of advanced equipment and production lines for industrial ice production. In the EASY-E project, Gram Equipment has been interested in investigating a cooling tunnel for freezing ice cream in order to make it more efficient.
Optimization potential in data
The cooling tunnel from Gram Equipment has been produced for a number of years, which is why it was obvious to take a closer look at whether it was possible to optimize it using simulation processes. The cooling tunnel works by running half-frozen ice cream, placed on a belt, through it. Along the way, the ice cream is cooled by cold air that is blown into the tunnel, so that it comes out frozen at the other end with a temperature of around minus 30 degrees.
In order to achieve the best possible optimization, a computer version of the real cooling tunnel has been created via computer programs and calculations. This allows you to get a precise picture of the air circulation inside the tunnel.
The computer answer is validated in real life
The simulation processes have shown very good results with a significantly increased freezing speed. These results have been achieved by optimizing the air flow inside the tunnel.
This means that Gram's customers can, in principle, choose to freeze the ice cream faster with the same amount of energy as they currently use. Alternatively, you could use the same time to cool the ice cream - but reduce energy consumption. You can also combine the two solutions and still achieve a positive result
- Christopher Klingaa, Danish Technological Institute
The results have been confirmed by measuring in a freezing tunnel in real ice cream production. The completed simulations are thus expected to have real significance for Gram Equipment's customers' production.
About the EASY-E project
The EASY-E project runs from October 1st 2020, to December 31st 2023 and has a total budget of DKK 20 million. The project is supported by EUDP - The Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program and has participation of both knowledge and industry partners. The knowledge partners are DTU – the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Technological Institute and Oqton Denmark, while the industry is represented by Aarsleff, Danfoss Cooling, Asetek, Bühler Group and Gram Equipment.