Neuhaus Neotec debuts its industrial electric roaster

Neuhaus Neotec has put the first industrial scale electric coffee roaster into operation at a new production facility of Canadian coffee roaster Café William, which was inaugurated earlier this month.

The Canadian coffee roaster Café William has been continuously striving to reduce the carbon footprint of its products and across the entire coffee production chain. An important step in this direction is the new roasting factory, which is equipped with a purely electrically powered RFB roaster from Neuhaus Neotec.

“It was a great, very transparent collaboration with Neuhaus Neotec. And what we have achieved together has exceeded our expectations. For a few weeks now, we have been roasting purely electrically with electricity from hydropower,” says Rémi Tremblay, CEO of Café William.

The electrically powered RFB roaster with an hourly output of 3-3.5t of green coffee requires a maximum power supply of one megawatt, which is roughly equivalent to the output of four Super Charger charging stations for electric cars. By roasting with green electricity instead of gas as an energy source, greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced. If the roaster is powered by green electricity from renewable sources, as in the case of Café William, roasting is a completely CO2-neutral process.

If a customer wants to keep several heat energy source options open, Neuhaus Neotec has designed this RFB as a dual-energy hybrid roaster, which can be operated both purely electrically and with natural gas. If required, it can even run on both energy sources at the same time, eg to buffer high energy peaks using one or the other energy source.

The system design of the RFB roaster series enables the use of purely electrical energy for roasting as well as the use of other alternative resources without significant structural modifications. In hybrid operation with gas and electricity, the system is simply expanded to include an additional heat source.

Due to continuous optimisation of the process control and system design, the roasting process with the RFB is particularly energy efficient, regardless of the heat transfer medium.

As a result of the use of economical drives and components, high efficiency in the utilisation of thermal energy, the low heat losses due to optimum insulation and the high recirculation rate in the roasting gas circuit, the RFB roasting systems from Neuhaus Neotec are characterised by significantly lower energy consumption compared to conventional roasting technologies.

The RFB is also highly flexible and offers a wide range of roasting profiles. Even when using electricity (or hydrogen) as a heat source, roasters can continue to use their proven roasting profiles. “Initially, we weren’t entirely sure whether these energy sources would offer the same flexibility in temperature control as natural gas,” explained Dr Stephan Sternowsky, head of technology at Neuhaus Neotec. “However, the extensive roasting tests in the field have shown us that roasting with electricity allows the same scope for design as with gas and that roasting curves are just as reproducible.”

The German manufacturer also has good news for coffee roasters who are already roasting on RFB systems: With a manageable amount of effort, many existing systems can be converted to electric or hydrogen operation.

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