Advanced energy recovery in food and beverages

As the largest food and beverages company in China, Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. Ltd. provides more than 150 varieties of food and beverage products, such as drinks, canned foods, health products and milk powder. Compressed air is essential for Wahaha’s operations, but by implementing energy recovery systems as well, the company wins on all levels: safety, energy-efficiency, reliability, sustainability.

High pressure compressors Energy recovery solutions Food & Beverage Oil-free compressors Class 0 PET compressors

Over 25 years of cooperation

Atlas Copco has been providing Class 0 oil-free compressors and high-pressure piston boosters for hundreds of production bases of Wahaha during the past decade. Currently, more than 90% of compressors of Wahaha Group are provided by Atlas Copco, and about 600 of them are operating at Wahaha every day.


“Food safety is the biggest concern for a food and beverage manufacturer like us. In addition to the strict control of raw materials, we also have extremely stringent standards set for equipment and suppliers. Atlas Copco’s Class 0 oil-free compressor with high-pressure piston booster delivers excellent performance, stability and security.”

Mr. Qiu Yijun, Engineering Manager Wahaha

Re-using and saving energy, reducing emissions

For the past years, Wahaha Group has been putting sustainable development on the agenda. This includes energy-saving & emission-reduction plans to protect the environment, food security strategies and resource optimization.

In order to maximize energy-savings and compressor efficiency, Atlas Copco aftermarket engineers customized an energy recovery (ER) solution for the Wahaha Haining plant in 2011. Six sets of ER energy recovery units were installed in the compressor room.

The ER systems collect and use this heat to make the water used for cleaning and sterilizing reach the right temperatures. Since this water may be heated to 60% and even 90% of the needed temperature this way, the need to produce steam separately drops dramatically.

From compressor shaft power to heat recovery

Compressor room Wahaha

After all, more than 90% an air compressor’s shaft power is not used to generate compressed air. We can convert this shaft power into heat energy. Thanks to the heat recovery system, as much as 75% of the electrical energy used can be recovered as hot water.

This process has no impact on the compressor performance and counts as one of the highest energy-efficienct recovery processes possible.

ER investment recovered in 1,5 year

"The Atlas Copco ER heat recovery systems do not only achieve energy conservation, they also bring an ROI. We save more than 5,000 tons of steam each year, the equivalent of saving 3,500 kWh of electrical energy. That’s about RMB 1.2 million Yuan on steam consumption. The result? Our investment can be recovered in only one and a half year", concludes Manager Qiu Yijun.