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Finnish malt to be produced using the world’s most energy-efficient process

In Finland, Viking Malt Group is building a completely new malthouse in place of the current one in Lahti. Next to the malthouse, compatriot energy utility Adven Finland will implement an exceptional energy solution that has not been seen before in the country. A solution combining waste heat recovery and heat production using production residuals as well as heat pumps has received investment support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for new energy technology.

In Finland, Viking Malt Group is building a completely new malthouse in place of the current one in Lahti. Next to the malthouse, compatriot energy utility Adven Finland will implement an exceptional energy solution combining waste heat recovery and heat production using production residuals as well as heat pumps (image courtesy Viking Malt Group).

Jointly owned by Nordic food industry majors Polttimo Oy, Finland (62.5 percent) and Lantmännen Group, Sweden (37.5 percent), specialty malt producer Viking Malt Group is the largest malting company in the region. With a total annual production capacity of 600 000 tonnes across six facilities located in Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden, it is the fifth-largest producer in Europe and ranked ninth globally.

In Finland, the company operates a malthouse in Lahti, that has been at the same site for over 130 years. In November 2020 Viking Malt announced that it was investing around EUR 90 million in a new “modern and innovative” plant in Lahti as part of the long-term growth strategy that will enable it to produce a variety of new products on top of the current selection.

The annual production capacity will be around 85 000 tonnes and the plan is that the new malting house will start its operation in 2023.

Integrate waste heat recovery

Compatriot energy utility Adven Finland part of Adven Group has been selected to implement an exceptional energy solution adjacent to the new malthouse that will see energy production, i.e. heat production, cooling plant, and heat pump system, integrated in a new way into a single entity that simultaneously produces heat and cooling.

Waste heat recovery is one of the major trends in the energy sector: instead of burning more and more, improving energy efficiency and identifying the process steps where heat can be recovered and reused will be in focus. The goals for carbon neutrality and the development of heat pump technology guide towards waste heat recovery as an energy solution now and certainly in the future, said Hanna Litendahl, Sales Manager at Adven.

Waste heat alone is estimated to cover more than 65 percent of the heat energy needed. Especially when drying malt, a lot of heat is released, and this has previously been largely unused.

In addition, barley husk by-products of the malthouse will be used as fuel in energy production. Combined with the waste heat recovery these will cover almost all the thermal energy required. If waste heat or by-product is not available, the energy will be produced with wood pellets.

With the state-of-the-art malthouse even at the global level, we can guarantee that competitiveness and production will remain in Finland well into the future. For example, the utilisation of waste heat is definitely a solution that will also be supported politically in the future, said Mika Mäkelä, Project Manager at Viking Malt.

The novel energy project, the value of which has not been disclosed, has received investment support from the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for new energy technology.

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