Process Liquids? Here’s How Pigging Improves Sustainability and Lowers Carbon Footprint

Liquid product recovery (also referred to as “pigging”) systems are increasingly being adopted by companies that process liquids. This is because they help to increase yields and capacity, lower waste treatment and disposal costs, speed up changeovers, reduce contamination ricks plus much more.

But another major benefit of pigging systems is that they significantly improve environmental sustainability. This includes lowering carbon footprint.

This is reflected in a new report from independent sustainability and energy consultancy Carbon-Zero.

According to the report, manufacturers that pump liquids or wet products through process pipelines can reduce their carbon footprint by tonnes of carbon every day by using HPS liquid product recovery (pigging) technology.

Pigging Technology Saves Tonnes of Carbon Daily

Carbon-Zero are a UK-based sustainability and energy consultancy, who assist businesses in the UK and internationally on their transition to an environmentally and economically sustainability future.

In their recent report, they found that pigging systems reduce carbon emissions by over 2 tonnes every time a manufacturer changes from one product to another. This is compared to conventional flushing processes and in terms of equivalent carbon savings.

Please note, due to ever-changing customer needs and preferences, companies that process liquids usually carry out multiple changeovers per day. So, the environmental savings from pigging are highly significant.

pigging systems save tons of carbon

Carbon Savings in Water-Based Paint Processing and Production

Pigging refers to a specialist technology that recovers residual liquid product from pipelines that would otherwise go to waste.

It’s used in a wide variety of sectors, industries, and applications.

However, the Carbon-Zero report uses water-based and solvent-based paint production as examples.

In paint and coatings production, conventional line flushing is typically used to remove the residual product remaining in the pipe when changing from one product to another. This process typically uses large amounts of water, energy, and other resources. So, the environmental implications are considerable.

However, with a pigging system in place, the report found that up to 2.68 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent is saved every time there’s a product changeover.

And because many paint and coatings manufacturers are utilizing shared pipelines for different variations of product, they make several changeovers every day.

Why are Pigging Systems More Effective at Reducing Carbon?

So, why are pigging systems so much more effective at reducing carbon in comparison to conventional flushing?

Essentially, pigging reduces carbon because it recovers so much product from the pipe, rather than sending it to waste. In addition, it reduces the requirement for long, continuous water flushes and washouts between product transfers and batch changeovers.

In this way, pigging systems for paint decrease the washout duration and use significantly less water.

As well as saving water, pigging systems reduce waste, lower the use of CIP chemicals and cleaning agents (if they’re used in the process), and lower related transport and disposal costs. So, the environmental benefits of pigging and carbon savings are significant.

HPS experts pigging systems

Environmental Benefits of Pigging Systems

Although we knew that pigging systems deliver considerable environmental benefits to companies that process liquids, the amount of carbon saved by pigging had not been specifically quantified prior to the Carbon-Zero report.

And we’re pleased to say that the results are way higher than expected.

The report also highlights that, even when accounting for the embodied carbon used in manufacturing the pigging system, the carbon payback periods are instant. What’s more, savings of over 95% carbon emissions per changeover are achievable.

So, for manufacturers seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, emissions, and other negative impacts on the environment, adding a pigging system to their production line can seriously help.

Pigging Offers a Wide Range of Benefits

As well as being an effective way to reduce carbon emissions, pigging systems deliver a wide range of additional benefits to companies that process liquids and wet products.

These benefits include higher product yields, increased plant capacity, improved productivity and efficiency, less production downtime, lower water consumption, less use of CIP chemicals and a significant reduction in product waste.

That’s why pigging systems are increasingly being implemented in liquid processing plants throughout the world, especially in hygienic or sanitary environments.

This includes foods, beverages, confectionery, as well as in the production of paint, coatings, household liquids, personal care, cosmetics, lubricants, pet food, and many more.

benefits of pigging environment

The Report Can Be Applied to all Sectors

It’s important to note that although the report by Carbon-Zero specifically focuses on carbon savings in paint production, the findings can be applied to all sectors that process liquids.

So, it could be wine, beer, soft drinks, honey, sauces, and dips. It could be varnish, shampoo, shaving foam, cosmetics, toothpaste, or lubricants being ‘pigged’.

Essentially, if you process liquids and implement a pigging system in your production process, the carbon savings are going to be high compared to the conventional flush process.

Importance of Reducing Carbon Emissions and Meeting Sustainability Goals

With global production sectors responsible for one-fifth of carbon emissions (consuming over 50% of the world’s energy sources), there’s a critical need for manufacturing companies around the world to reduce their emissions.

Companies that process liquids are also contending with more stringent regulations, increasing pressure from investors and the need to appeal to customers. These factors have all resulted in more companies proactively taking responsibility for their environmental impact.

And for most companies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and lowering carbon footprint to try and reduce climate change is just the right thing to do.

carbon zero report on pigging carbon savings

Find Out More

HPS Product Recovery Solutions are the world’s leading experts in hygienic (sanitary) pigging systems and pipeline product recovery systems for the process industries.

We’re one of the longest established, most trusted, and experienced pigging companies and have installed thousands of systems throughout the world.

If you have any questions about pigging systems for hygienic or sanitary applications, or if you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact through highly effective, proven product recovery solutions, please contact the experts today.

In addition, if you would like to see the full report then please get in touch.

Alternatively, for a free pigging system quotation, please click here.

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