Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Meat processors look to decarbonise

Neal Wallace
Three of the country’s largest meat companies are upgrading technology to cut carbon emissions. Alliance has announced investment in three South Island plants, ANZCO to its Canterbury works and Silver Fern Farms to the Pareora works near Timaru.

Three of the country’s largest meat companies are upgrading technology to cut carbon emissions.

Alliance has announced investment in three South Island plants, ANZCO to its Canterbury works and Silver Fern Farms to the Pareora works near Timaru.

Alliance will receive co-funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to reduce reliance on coal fired plants at its Lorneville, Mataura and Smithfield plants.

Chief executive David Surveyor says as part of the decarbonisation project, Alliance will install an electrode boiler to reduce the use of existing coal fired boilers at its Lorneville plant near Invercargill, saving 11,739 tonnes of carbon a year.

The co-operative will also replace its main coal fired boiler at the Mataura plant with a high temperature heat pump system and small diesel boiler used peak demand, saving 6401 tonnes of carbon and improving the air quality for local residents.

In the third project, Alliance will capture waste heat from the refrigeration plant at Smithfield to replace coal use for process heat, saving 3811 tonnes of carbon per annum.

The emissions savings are the equivalent of taking more than 8000 average sized passenger cars off the road.

“In 2019, Alliance Group set a goal of ending the use of coal at our plants within 10 years,” Surveyor says.

“We have been tracking the carbon emissions from our plants, examining other fuel options across our network and rolling out a range of energy-saving projects.”

Silver Fern Farms has received $1 million in co-funding from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund for a $2.6 million heat-pump conversion project at its Pareora site.

Chief executive Simon Limmer says this is the third successful project under the GIDI fund, part of a plan to end coal use by 2030. 

“The work we are doing to reduce the environmental impact of our processing operations is just one of the ways we’re making sure we do the right thing by our customers, who increasingly want to know that their red meat is sustainably produced,” he says.

Later this year Limmer says SFF is launching a net carbon zero beef product into the US later this year, part of wider on-farm sustainability projects.

ANZCO Foods has also received GIDI funding to assist the installation of a high temperature heat pump to replace coal-fired boilers at its Canterbury plant.

Chief executive Peter Conley says the Government funding represents a third of the cost and will advance the planned project by four years.

“In addition, it will mean ANZCO can evaluate and install this technology across its other New Zealand operational sites earlier than initially planned.”

The new 1MW high-temperature heat pump will be installed at the end of this year to the beef plant’s refrigeration system to provide energy-efficient hot water generation.

Conley says it will reduce the emissions from the beef processing of plant by 2930 tonnes of CO2 a year, accounting for 13% of the site’s entire stationary emissions footprint, and cut coal use by 17%.

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