Cavendish Farms, one of North America's leading producers of frozen potato products, recently unveiled a critical vital new element in their environmental action plan, and a first for the potato industry in North America.
"We are proud to unveil our Bio-Gas Facility as an example of our corporate approach to researching, investing and implementing innovative new ways that we can create sustainable and environmentally friendly processing methodologies," Robert Irving, President of Cavendish Farms said at the official opening of the new plant. "This is the first facility in the potato industry to take solid potato waste and convert it into usable energy."
What sets the plant apart is that while most facilities treat waste water produced from processing, the Cavendish Bio-Gas Facility also takes the solid waste material from potato processing and, through anaerobic digestion (a natural process similar to composting), converts it into energy for the Cavendish processing plants.
This marks the single biggest reduction in greenhouse gases on the Island. Among the many environmental benefits the new plant will help achieve are: 30-35 percent reduction in the overall carbon footprint of the potato processing plants; a reduced dependence on fossil fuel used to power the boilers in the processing plants (about 10 million liters per year); fewer trucks required to bring fuel to the plant; the elimination of the need for trucks to remove potato waste from the plant, (reducing the trucking requirements of the processing plants operation by 1450 KM per day); and the creation of an organic, natural fertilizer that can be used on fields in place of potato waste.
The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions alone is expected to be 35 kilo tones (KT), which represents a reduction of 30-35 percent for the Cavendish Farms operation. This is equivalent to taking 7,300 cars off the road for one year. "By any measure the reduction in emissions is significant and one that all Cavendish employees can be proud of," Irving said.
The original idea for this facility was explored in 2004, with development beginning in earnest in 2006. The project was led by the Irving Engineering Team with support by Stantec Engineering from Fredericton and the German firm of Krieg & Fischer Engineering GmbH, an engineering company specializing in Bio-Gas plant design around the world. During construction, the plant generated approximately 81,500 person hours of work and utilized the goods and services of 23 Island companies.
Source: Cavendish Farms