Fonterra will ditch coal and instead use wood pellets to power its Te Awamutu dairy plant in New Zealand.
Until now the site has used a combination of fuels to process milk, including coal. The shift to wood pellets will reduce Fonterra’s coal consumption in New Zealand by around 10%.
The Te Awamutu facility is one of three Fonterra sites in New Zealand’s North Island that are currently using coal.
Speaking of the change, Fonterra sustainable energy and utility manager Linda Thompson said: “It really demonstrates that sustainability, doing what’s right for the long-term good, is very much at the heart of how we’re working and thinking about our future.
“The move to wood pellets at Te Awamutu will save the co-operative about 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, that’s the equivalent of taking around 32,000 cars off the road.”
She added: “There is no one single solution for us to transition out of coal. We know we can’t do it alone, that’s why working with others like wood pellet supplier Nature’s Flame and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority are so important.”
Taupo-based Nature’s Flame will be supplying the pellets made from sustainable wood fibre residues.
“We’re encouraged about the growth of the bioenergy (wood pellets) industry and we’re proud to be part of something that’s good for the environment and our local communities,” said John Goodwin, Nature’s Flame’s operations manager.
In 2017, Fonterra announced a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, with a 30% reduction by 2030 from a 2015 baseline.
Last year, the dairy company pledged to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
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