FPC’s value to the project extended beyond construction. Their strong communication, diligent project management, and adherence to safety protocols were consistently highlighted by Fonterra.

Mark Drayson Fonterra Project Manager

Project Duration

6 Months

The challenge:
outdated systems and environmental compliance

The Te Awamutu site previously relied on an aging R22 water chiller system, notorious for its inefficiency and refrigerant leaks. With New Zealand regulations phasing out R22 due to its ozone-depleting properties, Fonterra needed a robust, eco-friendly solution. Additionally, the old plant was suffering from equipment deterioration, making it the ideal candidate for an upgrade. 

The challenge was not only to replace the system but to ensure that the new ammonia-based version would meet modern environmental standards and significantly improve energy efficiency.

Project scope and execution

The project required the removal of an old heat recovery boiler to make space for the new ammonia plant room. This initial phase involved clearing about 700 tonnes of steel, a task completed over eight weeks, to prepare a clean footprint for the new construction. FPC’s role was pivotal in constructingthe plant room and the new MCC transformer compound.

Fonterra’s design approach included a lightweight steel portal frame structure, clad in the fireproof sandwich panel XFLAM to meet local noise and safety regulations. The design also accounted for potential ammonia leaks, incorporating a scrubber system and extended stacks to ensure the safe dispersion of any accidental releases. This meticulous planning ensured compliance with safety standards and environmental guidelines.

The refrigeration plant was sized in such a way as to ensure it could accommodate various load demand profiles throughout the year, meaning three one-megawatt chilling plants were developed onsite to handle a minimum chilled water supply of 56 litres of water per second to its maximum of 150L at 2.5°C. The plants run at peak load for close to 22 hours per day over about five months of the year.

The value FPC brought

FPC’s value to the project extended beyond construction. Their strong communication, diligent project management, and adherence to safety protocols were consistently highlighted by Fonterra. The FPC team’s dedication to quality and their ability to anticipate and resolve issues swiftly contributed to the smooth execution of the project.

While their bid was not the cheapest, FPC’s was the most detailed. FPC accounted for potential design and construction build challenges that others had overlooked. This prevented cost overruns and ensured that the project stayed within budget.

Why FPC?

Fonterra believed FPC offered the best solution. Initial interactions with FPC, led by Steve Barker, showcased practical and forthcoming advice and detailed planning, which instilled confidence in their capabilities. The decision to go with FPC paid off, leading Fonterra to recommend them for other projects.

Conclusion

The completion of the Te Awamutu Ammonia Water Chilling Plant marks a significant step forward for Fonterra in terms of environmental compliance and operational efficiency. FPC’s expertise in managing complex industrial projects was instrumental in delivering a state-of-the-art refrigeration system that meets modern standards.

This project not only underscores the importance of choosing the right partner but also highlights the critical role of innovative thinking and meticulous planning in achieving sustainable industrial solutions.