Canola oil processing powered by bioenergy

Canola oil processing powered by bioenergy

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2 million in funding to help an Australian oilseed crushing, refining and packaging company make the switch to bioenergy.

The project, totalling $5.38 million, involves installing a 4.88 MW biomass-fired boiler at MSM Milling’s facility in Manildra, regional NSW. Unlike its current LPG gas-fired boilers, the biomass boiler will be fuelled by locally sourced renewable wood chips, such as forestry thinnings, offcuts and sawmill by-products, to generate steam necessary for the canola processing operation.

MSM Milling’s change to bioenergy not only replaces the use of gas in the oilseed business, it involves using sustainably sourced wood chips in a move that increases economic return to the forestry industry. The project thus helps to grow the currently underdeveloped biomass industry in Australia, according to ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

“Bioenergy currently makes up only around 0.9% of Australia’s energy mix; however, the use of wood chips to displace gas is becoming attractive as consumers are increasingly demanding better environmental performance across product supply chains,” Frischknecht said.

“We hope MSM Milling’s innovation will lead to more industries turning to biomass, in a move which could increase renewable energy generation in NSW and Australia and create alternative value streams for wood materials currently considered as waste.”

MSM Milling Director Bob Mac Smith said the ARENA funding, combined with a significant company investment in the project, has helped cement MSM Milling’s future as a regionally based global food industry leader, secured the jobs of 70 employees and allowed the company to pioneer the way for other Australian manufacturers to adopt renewable energy technology.

“MSM Milling has spent a number of years researching to identify the optimal thermal energy solution for the plant to further secure our future and allow us to continue to provide sought-after trusted oil and value-added oilseed products to local and international markets,” said Mac Smith.

“The project will significantly reduce greenhouses emissions, fossil fuel energy use and depletion, while increasing renewable energy generation in NSW — all in line with our company’s commitment to operate with the lowest carbon footprint, the highest energy and water efficiency and the least overall environmental impact.

“We’ve partnered with experienced technology providers Justsen, Uniquip Engineering and carbon energy expert Ndevr Environmental for this project and will document and share the process of technology adoption to encourage further uptake within the Australian manufacturing sector.”

Pictured: The MSM Milling facility in Manildra.

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