Dairy plant saves energy with U-Turn evaporator

“When the U-Turn solution was presented to us, we immediately decided to go for it as we knew it would help save space, limit the quantity of ammoniac and allow us to reach our energy-efficiency target. The system has been in use since 2012 and we had very little maintenance to do, even no maintenance at all when the old system needed constant monitoring and frequent human interventions!”, says Patrik Cadet, maintenance manager, Sorelait (Danone Group).

DATE 2023-11-28

JPO Froid specialises in systems for food refrigeration and is a longstanding partner of Alfa Laval – notably within extensive projects aiming at CO2 reduction. The dairy producer Sorelait is a company within the Danone Group, based on the Indian Ocean island Réunion. When they decided to substitute their former refrigerant (R22) and install a more powerful and energy-efficient cooling plant, Alfa Laval was selected to provide the equipment.

The solution presented by JPO Froid comprised a U-Turn condenser as well as other equipment from Alfa Laval. By combining the U-Turn with frequency controlled compressors, JPO Froid was able to present a very compact system with two compressors (combined effect of 1 MW) and a total length of just 4.5 metres.

Conventional solutions call for 3-4 compressors and traditional LP cylinders. By the use of frequency controlled compressors, they were able to work at a higher speed (up to 60 Hz instead of 50 Hz), thus delivering savings in the production. Also, the new plant eliminates the need for manual adjustment of the power supply to load variations – e.g. during weekends or evening hours. The power supply is automatically tuned to meet the actual demand.

When it comes to tolerance to load changes due to large fluctuations of temperature, U-Turn comes out very well. As you can imagine, generating the refrigeration (700 kW) for a production plant like this one implies very low tolerance for frequent cut-outs or long breaks for re-energizing.After an initial period of operation, the actual energy savings were validated by an independent research institute. By eliminating peaks in the use of energy, the new solution could reduce the need for power from 900 kW to 700 kW – which means a cost reduction of more than EUR 8,000 annually. Depending on the time of year, energy savings fluctuate within the 13-20 percent range.


U-Turn liquid separator from Alfa Laval

  • The U-Turn is a liquid separator especially designed for use with plate heat exchangers in ammonia applications, which ensures minimum pressure drop losses and maximum energy efficiency.
  • The module provides an effective and compact installation with less vertical rise and smaller overall dimensions than any other solution.
  • All ammonia connections are grouped on the same side, which allows the module to be installed in close proximity to walls or on the perimeter of a main skid. 

U-Turn liquid separator 

Challenge and solution

Confined space, energy saving, substitution of refrigerant and short installation time.


Improved productivity, considerable energy savings and a high degree of automation 

The end customer

Sorelait (a major dairy producer within the Danone Group).