Plastic bottles are bad news for the planet. It takes at least 450 years for a plastic bottle to completely degrade, and more than a million are sold every minute around the world, with the vast majority ending up in landfills. Plastic is derived from materials made from fossil fuels, which means the production of all those bottles also creates billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bottled drinks, the Coca-Cola Company recognises its responsibility to help solve the global plastic waste issue, and through its World Without Waste programme, it is committed to developing a circular economic system aimed at eliminating waste through the continual use of existing resources. It aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025 and to use at least 50% recycled material by 2030.
The programme can be seen in action in Vietnam, where the company recently announced the launch of bottles made from 100% recycled food-grade polyethylene terephthalate plastic (rPET) across the country. It hopes to reduce its use of new plastic in Vietnam by two thousand tonnes per year.
The bottles are manufactured at Coca-Cola Vietnam’s factory in Hanoi, with the help of Güntner technology. The factory recently needed to replace an ageing zinc condenser and plate heat exchanger for the cooling system on its bottle extrusion line, and it wanted a solution with sustainability in mind.
“THE CHALLENGE WAS TO REDUCE BOTH WATER AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION, AND ALSO TO USE NATURAL REFRIGERANTS. IT WAS A CHANCE TO SHOWCASE OUR EXPERTISE IN PROVIDING SUSTAINABLE REFRIGERATION SOLUTIONS THAT PRIORITISE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.”
SALES ENGINEER, GÜNTNER
Together with Thuan Phat refrigeration, Electrical Thermal and Mechanical JSC-REMCO contractor and the Coca-Cola technical team, Güntner devised a cooling solution that would meet the capacity of the production line while also having a positive environmental impact: the Güntner ECOSSTM G3 Evaporative Condenser, using ammonia as a refrigerant. Other than water, ammonia is the only refrigerant that has both a Global Warming Potential and Ozone Depletion Potential of zero. Güntner’s ECOSSTM Evaporative Condensers are no larger nor less affordable than traditional cooling towers, but use only half as much water and energy.
“In Hanoi, there are two seasons, hot and cold, and during the cold season, the cooling system needs to operate very little,” says Tin Nguyen. “Controlling the fans reduces the load on both the heat exchanger and the cooling system as a whole, saving between 30% and 50% of energy consumption compared with the previous solution. Water consumption is also reduced."
More durable than traditional galvanised-steel cooling towers, the stainless-steel ECOSSTM Evaporative Condensers are highly resistant to corrosion and scaling, leading to less, or even zero, dependence on chemical water treatment, enabling decade-long product lifecycles. A range of other benefits include an optimised funnel shape in the water basin, reducing the required volume of cooling water by 50%, and a design that makes for easy maintenance.
“WE WERE VERY HAPPY TO WORK TOGETHER WITH GÜNTNER IN HELPING THE COCA-COLA COMPANY TO REDUCE ITS USE OF NEW PLASTIC IN VIETNAM. IT WAS FITTING THAT WE PROVIDED A SOLUTION DEVISED WITH SUSTAINABILITY AT ITS HEART.”
NGUYEN TRUNG KIEN