Cleaning stations feel the heat
However, the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting sanctions is putting enormous demands on the tank cleaning industry at this present time.
A lot of energy is needed for efficient tank cleaning including warm and hot water for the production of steam.
When cleaning, the higher the water temperature, the more effective the cleaning and the end result.
In particular, this applies to the cleaning of food and feed transport containers. Microorganisms such as salmonella, prions, moulds, mycotoxins, etc. can often only be reliably eliminated with high steam temperatures and use of the appropriate cleaning chemicals.
Many of our ENFIT association members who operate cleaning stations have been dealing with the burning question for weeks - what happens if the gas supplies are shut off?
What will happen if oil and gas energy costs continue to rise, as they have been in recent months?
ENFIT members have also been receiving inquries from industry and logistics companies about what measures are being taken to ensure cleaning quality is not undermined if cost-cutting measures are implemented.
As is so often the case, there are two groups within the cleaning station industry.
There are those who produce their hot water and steam with oil burners attached to the steam boilers. Then there is the other group who have equipped their steam boilers with gas burners and use natural gas, which is considered to be very environmentally-friendly.
The first group can feel lucky that the oil will not run out in the next few months. However, in all likelihood, oil will only become more expensive.
For the second group, the reality is unfortunately more dramatic because there are concerns that Putin will turn off the gas taps completely.
Members who work with gas are now looking to convert their steam boilers into oil burners. The question is whether this will succeed in the short term. The demand from the manufacturers of oil burners is enormous, so they will not be able to keep up with requests from tank cleaning firms who want to convert them.
The same also applies to the installation companies. These, normally medium-sized businesses, are already fully booked and they are also suffering from staffing issues. The future also looks bleak here.
Alternatives include biogas, wind turbines or solar panels, but there are concerns that, unless they have been in use for a long time, they do not represent a short-term solution.
For this reason, ENFIT and its members are looking towards other alternatives.
With a team of experts and a number of cleaning stations, ENFIT is currently examining to what extent it is possible to achieve the same cleaning results with cold water or with lower water temperatures.
Initial tests have shown that this will be possible, at least in some areas, if certain parameters are observed. In the next few weeks, the results from the tests will be compiled, evaluated and then made available to ENFIT members for implementation.
At the same time, ENFIT is in direct contact with industry leaders as well as the Kosher and Halal organisations.
Again, there may need to be changes in cleaning technology, which requires the approval of these relevant bodies.
In addition to the technical feasibility, the question of cost-effectiveness also has to be answered. We will only be able to answer these questions after carefully evaluating the test reports.
Companies and cleaning stations that are now urgently looking for alternatives are looking for advice from relevant experts who are welcome to contact them through ENFIT. This offer also applies to non-members.
How can you help answer some of these questions. Does it make sense to convert your steam boiler and what investment costs does that entail?
What alternatives are there and what are the hidden pitfalls? At the moment, many so-called energy consultants are on the move. Caution is advised here because some of these energy consultants are primarily interested in selling their own systems.
For more information: Visit: enfit.eu or email Hans-Dieter Philipowski at