Danone in $25m biomass deal to make plant carbon neutral

Global food company Danone is investing $25.8m to make its Nutricia spray drying plant in New Zealand carbon neutral by 2021.

Key to delivering this target will be the installation of a NZ$30m ($19m) state-of-the-art biomass boiler that will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.Danone to make plant carbon neutral

The drying plant is located at Balclutha, in the Otago region of South Island, and it processes raw milk sourced from 18 local farms into powder that is used as the base for infant milk formula.

Boilers play a central role in spray drying – the process of converting milk into a dry powder through the application of heat – with around 85 per cent of the entire plant’s energy consumption coming from steam production.

Danone’s biomass boiler will be powered by wood fuels, which will be sourced locally. 

Cyril Marniquet, Danone’s New Zealand Operations Director, said: “This significant investment, in what we expect to be New Zealand’s first carbon neutral plant of its kind, underscores Danone’s global ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision and the belief that the health of people and planet are interconnected.

“We share the New Zealand government’s ambitions in delivering a low-emissions, climate resilient future. At Danone, we’ve set ourselves an objective of becoming a carbon neutral company across our entire scope – from farm to family – by 2050. It is through key investments like this one that we take a step forward towards reaching this ambition.”

Veolia will be responsible for designing and managing the construction of the biomass boiler. The company’s New Zealand manager Alexandre Lagny said the company was excited to deliver the project as part of its global strategic partnership with Danone.

“Veolia has supported Danone with the development of the biomass project, aligning available biomass resources with optimal conversion technologies, while leveraging the company’s operational expertise to achieve the best possible environmental footprint for the site.”

Danone’s investment in the plant also includes the installation of a new water treatment plant to more efficiently treat water waste.
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The energy transition in New Zealand and Australia will be discussed in detail at Power+Utilities Australia, which takes place in Melbourne this week. Click here for details. 

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