Post Consumer Brands Gains Efficiency Through Boiler Optimization

The company utilized the MnTAP internship program to reduce energy consumption and increase self-sufficiency.

Post Consumer Brands’ Malt-O-Meal, a ready-to-eat cereal manufacturing plant, utilizes steam on multiple production lines as part of the cereal manufacturing process and compressed air to operate multiple variations of production equipment. After an energy assessment from an outside contractor, the company sought more detail for a potential boiler system upgrade which would include improving the energy efficiency of the boilers and compressed air systems.

Post welcomed Natalia Kaliszewski, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Minnesota, from the MnTAP Intern Program, who compared different options for boiler system operation and replacement. The company also emphasized an interest to produce electricity on-site due to outages caused by storms in the area that add expense, wasted product, and additional work for employees.

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Kaliszewski proposed the following solutions:

Replace the current tube boilers with high-efficiency fire tube boilers which would save Post 190,000 therms and $132,000 per year, also allowing it to gain a faster reaction time to steam load changes in the facility.

Install high-efficiency water tube boilers–in the case that Post chooses to keep all of their boiler types the same. Kaliszewski says the water tube boilers would tie into the current boiler system well and have a faster startup time compared to fire tube boilers. This option would save 44,000 therms and $82,000 per year in gas and maintenance savings.

Install a 1 MW topping cycle combined heat and power (CHP) system. Due to the facility’s grid reliability concerns, installing a cogeneration system could provide several benefits. By implementing a gas turbine as well as high-efficiency boilers, Post could save $967,000 annually from reduced gas use, maintenance, and continuous operation without power outage interruptions.

Identify and repair leaks in bag house compressed air lines, which are often difficult to visually or audible detect due to the ambient noise of the plant. By installing a flow monitor at the inlet to each bag house’s compressed air line, the leaks could be identified and fixed. This would save the company $967,000 per year, assuming 7 leaks are found and repaired.

According to Jason Haugen, engineer for Post, “Our MnTAP intern became part of the Post Consumer Brands family. She dove right in and collected numerous hours of research to assist us with improving our energy efficiency capabilities. With her dedicated focus on energy conservation, it didn’t take her long to identify several areas where we can start saving immediately. We will continue to learn from the information she provided and grow into the future supporting the efforts of energy efficiency and conservation.”

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MnTAP thanks Post for their partnership and commitment to conservation and efficiency, as well as Xcel Energy for their funding support and guidance. Learn more about the intern program and its results.


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