Heat pump technology ensures energy-efficient production in a bio-ethanol plant

Together with Pannonia Bio and Energy Integration Inc., PILLER realized a decarbonization project in a biorefinery.

Heat pump technology: Vapor compression line with PILLER MVR Blowers

The largest single site bio-ethanol plant in Europe was already considered as most efficient refinery in the world, using state-of-the art technology. But there still were high ambitions to minimize carbon emissions and to increase energy efficiency.


Together with Pannonia Bio and Energy Integration Inc., PILLER realized a decarbonization project in a biorefinery. The international team installed an innovative heat pump technology that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions and increases the energy efficiency of the Pannonia Bio biorefinery in Dunaföldvár, Hungary, making their bioethanol even greener.


Beacon in energy transition: Integrating heat pump systems

The key to the project's success is the heat pump effect created by the mechanical vapor compression unit. The system with PILLER MVR Blower Technology was installed to bypass the cooling and reheating and to reach the defined target pressure. It perfectly closes energy recovery cycle around the whole production.


Retrofitting the process with industrial scale heat pumps leads to: 

  • minimized production costs
  • minimized carbon emissions
    and thus an overall competitive advantage


IChemE Energy Award 2021

Julián Parra, Engineering and Technology Manager at Pannonia Bio, presented the project “Decarbonizing biorefineries to produce greener bioethanol” to the Institution of Chemical Engineers, who wants to advance chemical engineering’s contribution for the benefit of society. Finally, all team members were named winners of the IChemE Energy Award 2021 for their success with the project. 


Establishing sustainable processes

The success of this recovery cycle outlines that various industrial separation processes can be turned into heat pump loops. Further compression for higher temperature demand is possible and more likely to be considered in regions with high gas prices or high ambitions on CO2 reduction.


Read the complete case study “Energy efficient bio-ethanol production with PILLER MVR Blower Systems” here.

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PILLER video – Insight into the production process

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