Packaging company’s compressor waste heat helps to warm local college

Greiner Packaging’s production plant in Northern Ireland is helping a neighbouring college cut its £40,000 annual heating bill by donating waste heat from its compressors and its process cooling installation.

air compressor application in packaging industry

Dungannon Integrated College, a secondary school with 500 pupils, receives the heat into its central heating system via underground pipework, not only reducing costs but saving 200 metric tons of CO2.

Greiner Packaging, which is headquartered in Austria, specialises in the production of rigid packaging containers supplied to the food industry in Great Britain and Ireland. 

Compressed air is essential for all of the company’s production processes and is supplied by Atlas Copco oil-free, water-cooled Z-range compressors – with their outputs optimised by a central controller. It is the compressors’ water cooling systems that provide a substantial addition to the waste heat supply to the nearby school.  

Air drawn into a compressor contains water vapour. Heat stored in the vapour is released through condensation in the inter- and aftercooler of the compressor. The condensation heat contained in the input air is equivalent to 5-20% of the electrical input energy. This property is fully exploited by the unique design of Atlas Copco’s Z-range of oil-free screw compressors with energy recovery capability, whereby the total energy recovered as hot water amounts up to 80-100% of the electrical input energy, depending on the site conditions.

This supply is combined with hot water derived from a large battery of cooling fans sited near the college, which assist the cooling cycle that is integral to the plastic forming processes undertaken at the plant.

“The rapid sequence of heating and forming plastic materials requires equally fast cooling of the molten polymers. In this Greiner Packaging plant we achieve this with a large battery of condenser cooling fan units, in addition to the water cooling systems on the compressors, which extract the heat in the form of hot water at 80 degrees Celsius that is then delivered to the neighbouring school via 275 metres of pipework buried a metre underground.”

Jonathan Parr , Electrical Services and Plant Manager

This community project, considered to be the first of its type, is reputed to have cost Greiner Packaging £90,000, a sum matched by funding from the Department of Education whose spokesman on the occasion of the launch event commented:

“It’s a project that shows recycling, it shows an environmental responsibility and it shows social responsibility.”

Spokesman , Department of Education

Atlas Copco Compressors shares the same core values of innovation, sustainability, and environmentally-aware approaches in its offerings to industry as the Greiner Packaging International organisation which has reported annual energy savings approaching 2.8 gigawatt hours of electricity and 320 megawatts of heat. Greiner Packaging has earned a global reputation for producing award-winning, innovative, bespoke packaging designs in new materials such as PET, decorated with the latest in sleevings and printing techniques as well as items produced by injection stretch blow moulding processes.

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Editor’s Notes:


Atlas Copco Compressors is the GB sales and service operation of the Atlas Copco Group providing oil-free and oil-injected stationary air compressors,  gas and process compressors, vacuum pumps, turbo expanders, nitrogen generators, air treatment equipment (such as compressed air dryers, coolers, and filters) air management systems, and custom designed engineered packages. 


Atlas Copco Compressors’ sales and distribution network means that specialist compressed air advice and service is always within easy reach. A team of over 80 service engineers operates across the country, to ensure maximum running efficiency and minimum downtime at its customers' sites.


In the United Kingdom, Atlas Copco also handles the sales and marketing of construction and mining equipment, portable compressors and electric power generators, industrial power tools and assembly systems – all backed up by a nationwide sales, distribution, service and maintenance network. 


Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and services focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics.  The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43,000 employees. Learn more at www.atlascopco.co.uk/compressorsuk.


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Food & Beverage Class 0 United Kingdom Compressed Air 2014 Application story General Industry Product info Energy Efficiency Aftercoolers Oil-free compressors