Fonterra milk processing plant now co-firing on wood
Fonterra’s milk processing plant in the town of Brightwater, New Zealand, is now co-firing on wood biomass, with the site’s newly converted boiler officially switched on by the Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods, earlier today.
Supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and originally announced in May this year, the boiler’s conversion will slash the amount of coal used by the plant and cut carbon emissions at the site by around 2400 tonnes a year — roughly the same as taking 530 cars off the road.
According to Robert Spurway, Fonterra COO Global Operations, the conversion is part of Fonterra’s plan to reduce emissions across all sites.
“We’ll take what we learn from this conversion and apply it to our longer-term co-firing strategy for other boilers across the country,” he said, noting that curtailing emissions requires a multifaceted approach.
“We’re serious about meeting our targets to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and net zero by 2050 across all New Zealand operations. Achieving them will involve a combination of energy options and energy efficiency gains.
“On the electrification front, we’ve been exploring a number of options. We’ve completed a feasibility study to convert our Edendale operations to electricity and in August announced our plan to replace coal with electricity at our Stirling site in South Otago.”
Andrew Caseley, EECA’s Chief Executive, said the project demonstrates how co-firing can be used to reduce energy emissions for process heat, noting, “Co-firing has wide potential for replication with other businesses that use coal boilers, with the ultimate goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.”
According to Spurway, Fonterra is “serious about supporting New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the global goal of keeping temperature change to well below two degrees”.
“EECA support for the Brightwater boiler conversion is an example of how we can successfully work together to achieve positive outcomes for the environment,” he said.
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