The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $838,000 in funding to Hardwick Processors to install a demonstration-scale heat pump and upgrade the electrical supply system at its meat processing plant in Kyneton, Victoria.
The upgrade will produce enough hot water to operate at levels to improve shelf life and enable further export market growth. It will also help reduce the site’s reliance on natural gas by over 75%.
Around half of the total energy used by Australian industry is due to industrial process heat, which typically uses natural gas. Reducing reliance on natural gas is a significant way to decarbonise.
Low-temperature process-heat applications are among the simplest to run with renewable energy sources. Heat pumps operate in this range comfortably.
In addition to the heat pump installation, Hardwick Processors will also upgrade their electrical supply system to become a high voltage customer, taking any excess electricity required from the Powercor network. This will provide valuable insights into the supply infrastructure to assess the potential of completely electrifying process heat for industry.