The cereal giant has been using fuel cell technology in its waffle plant since late September. The fuel cell servers, developed by Bloom Energy, convert natural gas into electricity using a powerful reaction – more efficient than combustion.
The investment has enabled significant energy savings, said Diane Holdorf, chief sustainability officer at The Kellogg Company.
“The fuel cell technology generates one megawatt of electricity on-site, which offsets almost half of the electricity Kellogg purchases from the utility provider,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Kellogg said the system also uses less water to generate this power than if the electricity supplied by the utility grid.
Part of a broader sustainability plan
Kellogg has pledged to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 15-20% between 2005 and 2015. Holdorf said that shifting to green electricity at the waffle plant contributes to this plan.
“Our new fuel cell technology represents a sizable investment in our San Jose plant and our environmental commitments, as it will help us to deliver against our goals to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”
She said Kellogg continuously looks at manufacturing techniques and processes to make cost-effective reductions and improve efficiency.
“One area over which we have the most control is the energy used in our own facilities. We consider this energy use to be one of our most significant direct environmental impacts, because the greenhouse gas emissions that result from burning fossil fuels contribute to climate change.”
Energy-efficient waffle irons
Along with fuel cell technology, Kellogg has also invested in energy-efficient waffle irons that can reduce energy use by 20%, Holdorf said.
The design of the waffle grids also ups production by about 12% per cycle.
Other initiatives from big players in the bakery and snack sector include Grupo Bimbo's $1.5m eco-friendly distribution center and Frito-Lay's move to shift 20% of its distribution fleet from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas (CNG).