Partner Minas Energia describes DEIF hybrid solution as “indispensable” in saving 100,000 litres of diesel per month for Brazilian F&B company

In eastern Brazil, DEIF and Minas Energia designed an innovative solution to guarantee the energy supply for the company Ciacarne. Due to the instability of the local grid supply, the company had to operate with several generators throughout the production period. The hybrid solution proposed by DEIF saves fuel and reduces emissions; factors that were relevant for Minas Energia’s decision-making.

When Brazilian meat processing company Ciacarne took up pork production in 1972, the company had high ambitions: Not only would it offer high-quality products; it would do so with the lowest possible environmental impact.

Through initiatives such as water treatment and biogas generation, the company’s facility at São Joaquim in eastern Brazil has come a long way towards independence of external energy sources – but until 2022, ensuring reliable electricity was still a problem.

Generators running 24 hours a day.

5 onsite generators

Until the PV system was installed, Ciacarne ran its five onsite generators almost 24 hours a day.

The local grid company was unable to cover the load requirement at the facility, and Ciacarne therefore ran its five onsite generators (three 750 kVA units and two 550 kVA units) almost 24 hours a day. As a result, fuel costs skyrocketed, and the gensets produced constant noise and carbon emissions; a solution that did not fit Ciacarne’s environmental ambitions very well.

Ciacarne decided to solve the problem by expanding its onsite plant to a truly hybrid power solution with photovoltaic panels. The target was to achieve the lowest possible cost of energy while ensuring reliability at São Joaquim – and to reduce emissions. Ciacarne reached out to local electrical engineering company Minas Energia for a reliable solution.

Operational stability with increased sustainability

“Minas Energia specialises in photovoltaic solar energy projects,” explains Ian Jahel Schwanz, director and electrical engineer at Minas Energia. “We serve both residential and large industrial clients.”

He adds that even though increased sustainability is very important, this must never be allowed to threaten operational stability. There is simply too much at stake for Ciacarne: blackouts would take out the refrigeration systems and result in the loss of large amounts of meat.

When designing a control solution for the upgraded hybrid power plant, Ian Jahel Schwanz decided to use DEIF controllers. Compatibility and the technical support were major reason for his decision.

“DEIF offered the best technical solution for diesel fuel savings by integrating all available power sources,” he remarks. “In addition, DEIF provided excellent customer support.”

DEIF devices make up an integrated solution.

The upgraded hybrid power plant combines solar, grid, and diesel power. It now boasts 5,000 Risen Energy PV modules with a combined output of 3 MWp and with 20 WEG inverters producing 2 MW. This PV plant is controlled using a DEIF ASC-4 Solar controller which interfaces with AGC 150 Generator and AGC 150 BTB controllers for the gensets and bus tie breakers and an AGC 150 Mains handling the 1.3 MW grid connection.

In addition, DEIF delivered an AGI 421 graphical interface, panels, and assistance for installing the AGC 150s on the gensets, developing dashboards in the AGI, and carrying out start-up and commissioning of the entire plant.

The upgraded hybrid system ensures stable and uninterrupted power, automatically switching sources as necessary with no operator intervention and prioritising solar power whenever possible. The generators can be run in parallel with the photovoltaic plant and the grid, for example to provide peak shaving when the load requirement is high.

pv panels

With the PV system, the hybrid power plant can lead to savings of up to 100,000 litres of diesel fuel a month.

Thousands of litres of diesel saved

The solution was installed and commissioned in August 2022. Ciacarne is satisfied with the system which provides the necessary stability and saves a lot of fuel, providing significant financial and environmental benefits:

“With the PV system, the hybrid power plant can lead to savings of up to 100,000 litres of diesel fuel in a single month,” says Ian Jahel Schwanz.

DEIF “indispensable” as a partner

Minas Energia is satisfied with the experience of working with DEIF on the project. One reason is that the project has attracted potential new customers for Minas Energia, but the quality of the equipment, the support, and the application flexibility of the DEIF devices was the most important reason behind the success of the project.

“The equipment quality is excellent,” says Ian Jahel Schwanz. “What I like most about the DEIF control solution is its ability to integrate various power generation sources and battery banks, providing a wide range of future possibilities. We are planning to incorporate battery banks on this project, and I would definitely consider using DEIF in future projects.”

So, which word would he use to describe his experience of DEIF as a partner on the project? Ian Jahel Schwanz does not hesitate.

“Indispensable,” he concludes.

– DEIF offered the best solution for diesel fuel savings by integrating all available power sources. In addition, DEIF provided excellent customer support.

Ian Jahel Schwanz, director and electrical engineer, Minas Energia

Ian Jahel Schwanz

Minas Energia

Founded: 2017

Headquarters: Ponte Nova, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Activities: PV energy for residential and industrial clients

Employees: 20


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