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Towards zero-fossil CO2 emission in the European food & beverage industry (GREENFOODS)

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  • The European food and beverage industry has a significant potential to improve its energy efficiency and increase its use of renewable energy. By achieving a reduction of production costs and fossil fuel carbon emissions, global competitiveness of the industry can be fostered and secured, especially for SMEs. This was the starting point of GREENFOODS, involving the main food and beverage producing and energy consuming countries in Europe (Germany, France, Spain, UK, Poland and Austria). Especially in this industry sector frontrunners are needed to reduce barriers and resentments and act as lighthouses for other companies to follow. Within GREENFOODS these frontrunners have been identified and accompanied during the implementation phase and will now push others to go for energy efficiency and renewable energy in their production process.


  • GREENFOODS Branch Concept is a tool for identification and evaluation of energy efficiency measures and the integration of renewable energy in the food and beverage industry supported by the GREENFOODS WikiWeb, an online compendium on unit operations, process technologies, energy supply, energy efficiency, renewable energy and best practice examples
  • GREENFOODS has performed more than 200 basic and 45 detailed energy audits focussing on and evaluating the potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy followed by 11 implementations (compared to a number of 5 foreseen) of identified measures in the European food and beverage industry. All 11 companies were accompanied through an implementation phase, covering all selected sub-sectors and company sizes from medium to micro-enterprises. Energy efficiency measures were implemented both at the process level (e.g. optimisation of heating and cooling rate of the process) and the system level (e.g. heat recovery from process and chiller). Innovative cooling systems, switchovers from steam to hot water distribution, CHP systems, solar thermal and PV or replacement of coal burner were also implemented. They will act as frontrunners highlighting the proven potential and results will be actively disseminated.
  • Funding and Financing Schemes have been evaluated (existing ones) and compared to the demand of SMEs of the food and beverage industry to identify soft barriers. Based on this recommendations for a tailor-made funding and financing schemes for European food and beverage industry (focus SMEs) has been developed and presented to policy makers.
  • Training Course has been developed and several trainings all across Europe have been performed on energy efficiency, specific tools directed to energy savings, the use of renewable energy and CO2 reduction in the food and beverage industry. This training will be integrated in the EUREM training course.
  • To ensure the sustainability of GREENFOODS a network of Virtual Energy Competence Centres (VECC) has been established in the partner countries and will be further extended. These national one-stop-shops for knowledge transfer, training, measurement equipment rental, consultancy, networking, etc. will act as contact points for all interested target groups.

Lessons learned

  • GREENFOODS branch concept: The feedback from all users of the branch concept and the WikiWeb was very positive, namely the huge knowledge exchange offered via both. The user-friendly interface, the clear documentation and the comprehensible background calculations have been evaluated outstanding.  It is a challenge to create a living community. The establishment of the network of VECC in partner countries it is foreseen to overcome this barrier.
  • Audits: the interest in audits from the industry was higher than expected. The point is the reliability of the auditor as on the one hand the reputation of these is in most countries  bad and on the other hand there is a barrier between scientific projects and the industry. It has to be mentioned that despite the huge number of audits it is almost impossible to create common recommendations for special sub-sectors of the food and beverage industry.
  • Funding and Financing: funding and financing schemes have been identified. Nevertheless, the demand of the food and beverage industry (especially the SMEs) is in some cases different to what is offered. The challenge is to close this gap by making a difference between smaller projects (fast approach) and larger projects (higher demand for support).
  • Trainings: The identified demand for a tailor-made training for the food and beverage industry has been proven within the project by the huge interest especially in Austria and Spain.
Updated 31.06.2016. Project is closed.  

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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Erneuerbare Energie
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Christoph Brunner
+43 3112 5886 470


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01/04/2013 to 31/07/2015
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