Ice Cream Producer Scoops Benefits of Heat Pump Technology

The Client –

Leading artisan ice cream producer

The Challenge –

Improving energy efficiency of an established temperature control process

The Solution –

Energy efficiency review & the addition of heat pump technology

With over 1,000 companies producing ice cream in the UK, Aqua has been fortunate enough to work on several projects within the sector over the years. Our most recent project, for a new client, involved an energy efficient re-design of their existing temperature control system.


As an artisan producer, with their own dairy herd, sustainability and quality are at the heart of their business. The production process centred around a chiller, a heat exchanger and 200kW gas boiler. This equipment provided all the heating & cooling necessary for their production line.

Ice cream manufacture typically involves blending together liquid and dry ingredients. This mixture is then pasteurised, to destroy any microorganisms, as well as helping to preserve the product and extend shelf life. Pasteurisation involves quickly heating the product to 72°C+, stabilising it for 10-15 seconds before lowering it back down to 4°C. It’s then homogenised, which makes the particles very small and improves the texture, then quickly cooled. The product is rested – or aged – any liquid flavourings are added and then it’s frozen. During freezing, air is added which improves product density.

We were asked to review this process for our client, to determine if any energy efficiencies could be gained and improvements made.


As a first step, our Engineers conducted a full site survey, looking in depth at the process, the existing equipment and making sure we understood their business objectives and goals.

Because pasteurisation requires heating & cooling, the customer was able to consider heat pump technology. Heat pumps are ideal for pasteurisation applications because they offer a highly cost effective, sustainable approach. They use the thermodynamic cycle to transfer heat from air, or water, which can be used for heating. So, rather than needing to generate the heat, it’s reclaimed from the process and re-used.

Aqua supplied and installed an Aqua ProHeat water to water heat pump, which would take the waste heat from their process and recycle it as high-grade hot water. The unit works on R1234ze refrigerant which has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of ˂7 and an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of zero.


By adding the heat pump, our client was able to dramatically reduce boiler usage, with it only being required at initial start-up stage when there is no cooling required. Subsequent heating requirements would be met by the heat pump. Whilst the heat pump requires electricity to run, it’s a small amount and results in practically free heating. Our client is no longer dependent on gas, their process is much more environmentally friendly plus they have built in redundancy and system resilience by having a heat pump plus boiler. Should one ever fail, the other can pick up the load until repairs are undertaken.

“Heat pump technology has evolved significantly over recent years” explains Aqua’s Founder and Managing Director, Simon Davis. “Heat pumps now offer a highly cost effective, renewable approach, with our water to water units achieving 85°C. For this particular client we’ve saved them all the costs involved with running their boiler and they gain their heating for next to zero cost. The ROI with heat pump technology is so impressive and they’re a fantastic option for any client that uses heating and cooling within their business.”

To find out how heat pumps can improve your business, call the team on 0333 004 4433.





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