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Danone installs CHP and microgrid solution in South African dairy plant
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

20 September 2023

Danone installs CHP and microgrid solution in South African dairy plant

Danone is installing a 5-MW combined heat and power (CHP) solution and microgrid controller at its dairy manufacturing plant in Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa. The facility produces a variety of dairy items, such as Nutriday yogurt and Ultramel custard. The microgrid project will support Danone's global commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 while also addressing the demand for a resilient local energy solution during the ongoing supply challenges in South Africa. Moshesh Cogeneration, a special-purpose vehicle owned by Moshesh Partners, has chosen Clarke Energy to build the turnkey CHP facility and microgrid controller for Danone. Moshesh will own and operate the plant for a period of 20 years under a PPA contract with Danone. According to a statement, the gas-fired power generation stands as a substantial contributor to carbon reduction when compared with grid coal-fired power or diesel generation. The CHP system will enable Danone to recover waste heat, as steam and hot water further aid in reducing the company's carbon footprint. Moreover, given the nationwide power crisis and frequent grid failures beyond load shedding, the microgrid solution "will deliver resilient power supplies and therefore, maximum uptime to the 24/7 manufacturing plant," said Clarke Energy. The hydrogen-ready CHP solution presents the flexibility to transition to H2 operation as soon as a sufficient supply becomes available. The 5-MW CHP system consists of two containerised engines from Innio Group's J616 Jenbacher, a waste heat boiler and a 75,000-litre thermal storage unit supplied by Clarke Energy that will feed the hot water distribution system.

The microgrid controller systems will facilitate the integration of the CHP engines with four existing diesel gensets, a solar photovoltaic array provided by a third party, and the grid. Senior director for operations and 'Design to Deliver': Danone Sub-Saharan Africa, Kid Nkantsu, commented: "With our frequent power supply outages, this microgrid solution will allow us to become independent from the grid, increase production uptime and integrate various distributed energy resources including hydrogen all while reducing our carbon footprint. We selected Moshesh Partners and Clarke Energy due to their track record in the region." Sifiso Shongwe, CEO of Moshesh Partners Fund Management, said: "This project signifies a significant step forward in South Africa's renewable energy transition, allowing Danone to become energy independent, thus further reducing its carbon footprint. We are confident that this milestone will inspire other organisations to consider similar renewable energy investments, advancing our collective goal to combat climate change and drive economic growth in a socially responsible manner."

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