Energy Savers
Southern Queensland

Queensland Beef Processors

Energy Savings
Beef and Cattle
Refrigeration, Evaporator Fans, Power Factor Correction, Heating, Solar Photovoltaic
Capital Cost

Farm Profiles

Energy audits were completed for six Southern Queensland meat processors that process mainly beef cattle as well as pigs, sheep, goats and deer.

The main energy consumption at each site is for refrigeration with multiple cool rooms and refrigerators. Hot water is generated on the sites for washdown and sterilisation using either LPG instantaneous burners, boilers or heat pumps.

One site also includes a processing facility for the manufacture of pet foods from the by-products.

The accumulated annual electricity consumption of the six processors during the 2015-2016 period was 2,736,000 kWh at the cost of $482,900. The annual gas consumption for the group was estimated at 2,330 GJ with a cost of $97,500. The energy consumption on the sites consists mainly of:

  • Condensing units servicing cool rooms and freezer rooms.
  • Refrigerators, display cases and refrigerated containers.
  • LPG water heaters and heat pump water heaters.
  • Wood and oil-fired boilers.
  • Manufacturing line equipment.

Energy audits showed how improving the current systems can lead to energy and cost savings. The main recommendations from the audits include:

  • Power factor correction (PFC) equipment: installing a 100 kVAr PFC unit at the Plainland site to reduce reactive power use. Install another unit at the Esk site as well.
  • Evaporator fan speed control: at the Maclagan, Warwick and Chinchilla sites to regulate the speed to the optimal level.
  • Lifting the compressor suction pressure: at the Maclagan site to increase the evaporator temperature from -20°C to -10°C, which is optimal. This solution will also involve replacing the current evaporator with a larger unit and insulate the suction line.
  • CO2 heat pump: install a 150 kW heat pump at the Biggenden site to generate hot water efficiently at 60°C for washdown requirements and pre-heat sterilisation water to replace the existing LPG burners. A 30kW CO2 heat pump has been recommended for the Esk site and a 4.5kW system for the Chinchilla site for hot water generation.
  • Solar PV systems: installing an 80 kW Solar PV at the Warwick site and a 10 kW PV system at the Chinchilla site to offset part of the energy consumption from the grid.
  • Refrigeration system and refrigerant replacement.
  • Heat recovery solutions.

Table 1. Costs and energy savings from audit recommendations.

Farm Recommendation Annual Energy Savings (kWh) Annual Gas Savings (GJ) Annual Costs Savings ($) Capital Cost ($) Payback Period (Years)
PLAINLAND PFC  –  –  5,062 15,000 3
MACLAGAN Evaporator fan speed control  11,700  –  2,556  15,000  5.9
Lift compressor suction pressure  13,250  –  2,895 13,000  4.5
WARWICK Evaporator fan speed control  90,000  –  19,330  76,000 3.9
Solar PV  138,500  –  21,080  122,000 5.8
BIGGENDEN CO2 heat pump -81,424 1,173 (325,833 kWh)  32,881  138,000  4.2
ESK PFC  –  –  4,300  6,500  1.5
CO2 heat pump  -12,046  244 (67,778 kWh) 11,633  37,000  3.2
CHINCHILLA Evaporator fan speed control  6,215  –  1,392 5,000 3.6
CO2 heat pump  -2,025  36 (10,000 kWh)  1,432  7,000  4.9
Solar PV  20,529  –  4,600  21,000  4.6


By implementing recommendations in the audit, the processors could reduce total energy consumption by 17% and costs by 19%, with Carbon emission savings of 541 t/CO2-e per year.

Table 2. Pre and post audit energy and cost savings.

Metric Pre-audit Post-audit Reduction (%)
Energy Consumption (kWh) including GAS 3,383,222 2,794,912 17
Cost ($) 580,400 473,239 19


For more detail about the heat pump recommendations at these meat processors, visit HERE.  

For more detail about the evaporator fan recommendations at these meat processors, visit HERE.

An energy audit is a good investment.

An energy audit is a great first step in moving a business towards a more efficient future by reducing energy use, costs and carbon emissions.

An energy auditor will review your past energy bills, your equipment and the way your business operates. They’ll show you where you’re using excess energy and explain what you can do about it. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE.

See the rest of the agricultural energy efficiency case studies HERE and Subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE.

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at energysavers@qff.org.au.

The Energy Savers Plus Program is delivered by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply.