Cargill scheme to generate 1.4MW from beef processing waste

By Michelle Knott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fossil fuel, Renewable energy, Cargill

Cargill scheme to generate 1.4MW from beef processing waste
Waste from Cargill’s massive meat processing facility at High River, Alberta, will be used to fuel a waste-to-energy plant that will boost the proportion of renewable energy used by the site to around 80 per cent.

Cargill is investing CAD36m and the Government of Canada is providing around CAD10m for the project, which is the first such public-private partnership in North America, according to the company. It’s also the largest single waste-to-energy project Cargill has undertaken on the continent.

Once it’s up and running, the new system will eliminate 21,000 tonnes of fossil fuel emissions annually, in addition to mitigating the facility’s electricity demand by producing 1.4 megawatts of power.

John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, said the project “will make our High River beef processing facility the most sustainable and environmentally friendly beef processing facility in the world.”

Waste reduction

No one was available to confirm the specific technology being introduced as FoodProductionDaily.com went to press, but Cargill representatives told a conference organised by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment earlier this year that the company plans to use a fluidised bed boiler to incinerate the waste.

As well as generating energy, this design will reduce the waste used to fuel the boiler by 97 per cent, according to the presentation.

The new generation plant will work in parallel with the site’s existing methane gas capture facility, which is one of 12 such schemes operated by Cargill across North America.

The methane is generated by the anaerobic treatment process used to treat wastewater from its operations. Combining these two renewable energy sources will meet between 75 and 80 per cent of the High River facility’s energy needs.

Cargill employs approximately 2,000 people at High River, harvesting 4,000 beef cattle daily. That equates to cattle costing CAD1 billion a year and around one-third of Canada’s processed beef volume.

Global goals

The latest announcement is in line with the company’s global goal of increasing the proportion of renewables in its energy mix. It exceeded its previous target of 10 per cent to reach 11 per cent renewables in 2010. The next milestone is to reach 12.5 per cent by 2015.

“The High River waste-to-energy project is another step in the right direction, and one that could potentially be replicated at our other beef processing facilities around the world, which would be a gratifying achievement,”​ said Keating.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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