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by Promethean Power Systems
As the New Year begins, looking back at the ground Promethean Power Systems has covered in 2016 can provide clear insight into how the company can use its innovative chilling technology to help dairy partners improve quality and save cost. The Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) annual report for financial year 2016 gives Promethean Power Systems an opportunity to do precisely that.
The latest PAEGC annual report features Promethean Power Systems’ progress in helping its dairy partners switch over to a cleaner and more cost-effective way to chill milk. Promethean’s major collaborators on the project are Hatsun Agro, India’s largest private dairy company, and Orb Energy, a leading solar energy solutions provider in India.
The report assesses the commercial and social benefits of Promethean’s refrigeration solution covering specific aspects such as wider market linkage to farmers, higher income through improved milk quality, reduced milk spoilage, and elimination of diesel as a power backup source.
PAEGC is an initiative undertaken collectively by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Sweden (Sida), the Government of Germany (BMZ), Duke Energy Corporation, and the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Since 2012, PAEGC has been supporting the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low-carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.
Under Promethean’s Progress Update section, the Powering Agriculture annual report observes that:
“Promethean has now sold over 400 units, of which they have deployed and commissioned over 250 milk chillers coupled to its patented Thermal Battery. The remaining units are pending installation or are in production today. To date, none of the 250 Promethean chillers in the field have required a diesel generator. Without Promethean’s Thermal Battery, a traditional milk chiller would have run diesel generators to chill milk in these villages, leading to higher costs and increased carbon emissions, or milk chillers would not have been installed at all, leading to greater spoilage and decreased quality of milk. As deployment of the chillers continues, Promethean has been able to adapt the solar component design to address specific logistical needs of dairy partners.”
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The bustling port city of Visakhapatnam, located on the Eastern coast of India, is increasingly assuming a cosmopolitan character – a change propelled by the rising aspirations of consumers. With consumers now willing to spend more on healthy living, the city is witnessing heightened demand for healthier produce, which, in turn, has prompted the rise of businesses offering premium quality products to discerning consumers.
Simhadri Dairy, an innovative dairy start-up, is one such enterprise that is changing the status quo in the dairy sector. Not content with providing consumers the same products as their competitors, Mr. Ramesh Kolli, Managing Director, Simhadri Dairy, was looking for a solution that would help him bring high-quality milk to consumers in Vizag.
In order to achieve this, Simhadri Dairy needed to procure superior quality milk with a high MBRT time, hygienically process it, and bring it to consumers’ doorsteps in the shortest possible time while retaining its natural taste and aroma.
To help Simhadri do so, Promethean Power Systems recommended the Rapid Milk Chiller Premium (RMCP). Using a combination of a rapid chiller and a 1000L stainless steel tank, the RMCP is a modular solution for customers looking to collect high-quality milk. The RMCP first instantly chills milk to 4°C in a single pass and then automatically maintains milk temperature between 4°C and 6°C in the active storage tank without the use of a diesel generator.
Re-introducing Consumers to Healthier Milk with Clean-energy-based Chilling
Mr. Ramesh, who has business interests in the shipbuilding industry in Malaysia and Singapore, entered the dairy industry recently. His plans include selling high-quality milk in the city and its precincts under the Simhadri brand. Simhadri Dairy’s portfolio currently comprises fresh milk (toned, full cream, and skimmed), ghee, curd, paneer, and butter milk.
The benefits linked to chilling raw milk rapidly with low operational costs were what prompted Simhadri dairy’s investment in the Rapid Milk Chillers (RMC). Simhadri Dairy essentially wanted a solution to preserve milk quality that would be cost-effective, eco-friendly, and scalable as they expand their collection footprint.
Promethean’s Success at Villages near Visakhapatnam Inspires Simhadri Dairy
Before placing an order for their very first Rapid Milk Chiller from Promethean Power, officials from Simhadri Dairy wanted to check its performance at an actual site. To do this, they visited a milk collection center near Visakhapatnam, where one of India’s largest private dairies uses Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chillers to procure high-quality milk for value-added products such as UHT milk.
Excited by the technology and cost-effectiveness of Promethean’s solution, Simhadri Dairy placed an order for a Rapid Milk Chiller Premium.
“We are excited about partnering with new and innovative dairy farms as it gives us an opportunity to enable the procurement of more high-quality milk that can be delivered directly to consumers. Our RMCP gives the staff at Simhadri Dairy the ability to preserve quality and freshness of milk without having to worry about power outages during milk collection. In addition, our RMCP for Simhadri also features a remote data monitoring system that will help the management track milk chilling operations from their computer or smartphone even as they go about other important tasks,” says Jiten Ghelani, CEO, Promethean Power Systems.
With Simhadri Dairy’s milk procurement estimated to increase in the near future, the company is making plans to purchase more Rapid Milk Chillers from Promethean.
India is the highest milk producing country in the world. In the agricultural economy of India, milk is the second-largest commodity contributing to the gross national product, next only to rice. In 2014-15, India’s annual output of milk stood at 146.3 million tonnes. By 2022, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) projects that the demand for milk will reach 180 million tonnes. To keep supply consistent with this projected demand, India’s dairy production needs to achieve an annual incremental increase in of 5 million tonnes.
In recent years, the growing population, higher incomes and heightened health awareness among domestic consumers have only created a higher demand for high-quality milk and milk products in India. The effect of this change is evident with retail shelves in the country now making space for value-added products such as UHT milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
These factors collectively turn the spotlight back on the importance of village-level dairy development to achieve sustained volume growth.
Experts agree that the need of the hour to meet India’s evolving dairy needs is long-shelf-life products such as ultra-high-temperature processed (UHT) milk. However, the quality of most value-added products is directly related to the quality raw milk, which is determined by its MBRT level.
A high MBRT level of milk guarantees its good quality. The Methylene Blue Dye Reduction Test is a quick method to assess the microbiological quality of raw and pasteurized milk. This test has been used as the acceptance or rejection criteria for raw and processed milk.
In India, where milk primarily comes from millions of individual dairy farmers who sell milk to the nearest dairy collection center before it is transported to the dairy processor’s facility, it is a challenge to maintain the quality of milk in the face of difficulties such as hot climate, unreliable electricity supply, and other factors such as inefficient milk chillers.
The Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS) 1479 (Part 3): 1977 criterion grades raw milk based on MBRT thus:
Heritage Foods Ltd is one of the fastest-growing public listed companies in India. Heritage Dairy has a chilling capacity of 1.68 million liters per day, a processing capacity of 1.53 million liters per day, and packaging capacity of 1.06 million liters per day. In keeping with shifting dairy consumption trends in India, Heritage plans to bring more value-added products to Indian consumers.
The average shelf life of fresh pouched milk that Heritage sells is about 2-3 days. Since this time span creates an impediment in distributing the product in deep rural markets, Heritage wanted to launch UHT milk with a retail shelf life of at least 7 days. However, selling the UHT milk at a premium would turn consumers away. So would a drop in the quality of milk. This called for the deployment of a solution that would keep costs in check while retaining the desired quality of milk.
This is where Promethean Power Systems’ Rapid Milk Chiller was able to provide an efficient and scalable solution to Heritage Foods. After the installation of Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller Premium in their village collection centers, the MBRT level of milk collected by Heritage Foods has increased to 4.5 hours.
Promethean Power Systems Rapid Milk Chiller helps chill milk even in the most remote places where electricity trickles in intermittently. Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller is based on thermal energy storage technology which has dual benefits. This milk chilling system instantly cools milk from 35 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius without the need for a diesel generator as a power backup source.
Since it eliminates the use of a diesel generator, it provides cost efficiency as well as an eco-friendly alternative to dairy processors. The Rapid Milk Chiller and Rapid Milk Chiller Premium have shown proven results in increasing the MBRT level of milk.
The Rapid Milk Chiller Premium solution from Promethean chills milk through a two-stage process:
In stage 1, the Rapid Milk Chiller lowers the temperature of milk from 35 degrees Celsius to a mere 8 degrees Celsius within seconds, eliminating most of the bacteria. This is the most important step in assuring the quality of milk needed for a higher shelf life. In stage 2, the chilled milk is then poured into an active cooling tank which reduces the temperature of the milk gradually to 4 degrees Celsius.
This solution ultimately helps ensure that by the time milk reaches dairy processors, it continues to remain within the mandated quality parameters.
To read more about Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller, please visit: http://www.promethean-power.com/
Much like the South Asian markets where Promethean is currently active, the dairy industry in Africa, too, is brimming with latent opportunities.Promethean Power Systems recently had the opportunity to explore this developing market at the 12th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition (12th AfDa).
Milk production and consumption in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda is on an upswing. However, the African dairy industry faces numerous challenges.The most prominent of which are: low quality of milk, low production and collection volumes, limited expertise in milk processing and preservation, unreliable grid supply, and long transit times.
The 12th AfDa, held in Kigali from August 31 to September 2 2016, was an event that discussed how these changes are shaping the region’s dairy sector. The theme of the 2016 conference was, “African Dairy; the Future Begins Here”.
Promethean Power Systems was invited to participate in the conference to introduce dairy processors in African countries to a cost-effective, eco-friendly and diesel-free alternative to chilling milk – one that uses thermal-energy-storage-based systems. At the conference, Jofi Joseph, Director of Sales & Marketing, Promethean Power Systems, spoke on the topic, “Milk bulking and quality at the farm.”
Milk production in Africa has grown steadily in response to the overall economic growth and health awareness. Most of the milk production in East Africa is run by small-scale farmers. There is a growing interest among the governments to develop the dairy industry as it provides a regular income source for the farmers.
The major hurdle in all of these countries is the lack of adequate infrastructure both at the farm and at the processing facilities. There is also a conscious effort by the dairy companies to shift the consumption pattern from liquid milk to products such as cheese, yogurt, and flavored milk. All these products require high-quality milk as their input which is an area where Promethean can make a difference.
To achieve significant growth in production, the dairy industry in Africa requires solutions that are efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly. Promethean’s conventional and Rapid Milk Chillers can potentially address the challenges faced by dairy processors in electricity-scarce African nations.
Compared to India and Bangladesh, African nations have a relatively lower ratio of villages where milk is chilled at the village-level. For instance, the entire country of Rwanda has an estimated 100 milk coolers, which is lower even than the number of units installed in a few districts in the Indian state of Maharashtra. This demonstrates the need for implementation of state-of-the-art dairy supply chain technology in the African dairy industry.
The conference has helped Promethean open discussions with local NGOs and establishments in Africa. African government officials have shown a keen interest in Promethean’s thermal-energy-based milk chillers and solutions that offer partial usage of electricity. Representatives from “Send a Cow”, an NGO working with small dairy farmers in East Africa, visited the Promethean factory and sites to gain a better understanding of the technology and evaluate implementation in their areas of operation.
“With a growing dairy industry and limited electrification, we see Africa as a very promising market for our innovative refrigeration solutions. We believe we can help dairy farmers and processors bring quality products to consumers. Our medium-term plans include the establishment of a permanent presence in Africa. Until then, we are planning to work with African dairy processors by shipping units from India,” said Jofi.
Promethean Power Systems’ Rapid Milk Chillers will now help Heritage Foods process higher volumes of better quality milk. Heritage Foods, one of the fastest-growing public listed companies in India, which boasts a processing capacity of 1.53 million litres of milk per day, recently installed Promethean’s Rapid Milk Chiller at its Munagapaka site near Visakhapatnam on June 10, 2016.
The unit was inaugurated by Mrs. Bhuvaneswari Nara, vice-chairperson and managing director, Heritage Foods.
Within a few weeks of installing the Rapid Milk Chiller, Heritage Foods has seen a 6x increase in milk procurement. The availability of an instant chilling option to preserve the quality of milk and save it from spoilage has inspired confidence among farmers, which has helped increase procurement volume, said officials at Heritage Dairy.
Improvements are also being reported in the quality of milk processed. Mr. Divakara Rao, Zonal Head, Visakhapatnam district, said that the unit has helped them achieve a high MBRT level.
If you would like to learn more or see a demonstration of the Rapid Milk Chiller, please contact the Promethean team.
India’s 1.22-billion-strong population is showing a growing demand for high-quality dairy products. UHT milk, gourmet cheeses, probiotic and nutritional drinks, and flavored milk are now commanding more retail shelf space. One might think that for a country that produces the highest amount of milk on earth, responding to this trend would be easy. But that is not quite the case.
Although India boasts nearly 146.3 million tonnes of annual milk production, according to the Indian government’s Economic Survey 2015-16, its dairy industry loses a substantial amount of milk every year to an underdeveloped refrigeration chain. The lack of timely refrigeration also means that the quality of milk is often compromised. This is arguably the most concerning factor for Indian dairy processors and farmers at the collection level.
Combined Problem of Lack of Refrigeration and Unreliable Power Supply
The Promethean Power Systems team believes that the challenges in the dairy supply chain can be addressed by implementing innovative refrigeration technology to reduce spoilage and improve milk quality.
This was the central theme of Sorin Grama’s presentation at the Indian Dairy Association’s 44th Dairy Industry Conference in Karnal recently. Grama, co-founder, Promethean Power Systems, spoke on Using Technology and Innovation to Transform India’s Milk Collection Networks, highlighting these points:
Part of the problem that is restricting village-level milk collection is the complexities associated with the hub-and-spoke model of milk collection. Grama noted that a wider milk collection radius means lower milk quality and higher operating costs. But distributed chilling coupled with diesel-free power backup can help solve this problem.
Transforming Milk Collection with Innovative Chilling Closer to Dairy Farms
Promethean’s patented thermal-energy-storage-based chilling systems from 500-2000L capacity can serve up to 60-70 dairy farmers in villages, giving them the confidence to deliver more milk to their nearest milk collection center. The thermal storage system stores grid energy when it is available, and releases that stored energy to chill milk when the need arises.
With thermal energy storage being a more cost-effective replacement for diesel-generator backup, collection centers and dairy processors are assured of better quality and volumes of milk as well as lower opex. This, in turn, creates greater value for the Indian consumer.
The points that Grama discussed tie in with what T Nanda Kumar, former chairman, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) said in his keynote speech at the DIC. “The structure of milk production is likely to change. Our milk producers will increasingly adopt new technologies in milk production. Alternatively, small-farmer-friendly machines may come into play… even within the smallholder production systems, improvisation through adoption of modern technology will become prominent,” Mr. Kumar said.