Energy efficiency in the food and beverage sectors in Bulgaria

IndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 5/2005

by Prof. Mincho Minchev

The food and beverage and biotechnology companies represent a very significant and sensitive sector, which is of strategic importance to Bulgarian national economy. Generally, their structure can be presented as follows - the food and beverage and biotech industries are characterized with wide range of productions, specific technologies, wide variety of specific energy consumption per unit produced and varying in large limits ratio between production and non-production costs. The technology processes – concentration, drying, extraction, etc., are connected with large energy consumption. Traditional productions with large energy consumption are:

  • sugar production;
  • brewery;
  • production of bread and pasta;
  • canning and drying of fruit and vegetables;
  • biopreparation industry;
  • production of essential oils and products thereof.

Largely, the energy consumption in these industries (energy consumption per GDP unit) is on average, 2-5 times higher than the one in European Union. The main reasons for this are:

  • obsolete equipment, mostly being in operation for over 10-15 years;
  • operation without serious investments in rehabilitation and technological equipment;
  • low level of automation;
  • lack of system monitoring;
  • technological discipline, often at unsatisfactory level;
  • lack of motivation and efficient measures for its initiation.

The processes of transition to market economy, privatization and forthcoming EU accession of the country, has led to restructuring of the companies in the food and beverage industry which has its pros and cons. The weaknesses include:

  • large amount of investment in directed to old and low efficient equipment – dryers, technological lines;
  • small share of investment in technological research and R&D;
  • huge non-production energy consumption.