12th April, 2018
As a global Agri–business, Olam Spice & Vegetable Ingredients (SVI) is constantly looking to improve energy-reduction across global operations.
One of the ways we’re doing this is through major energy saving initiatives in our US onion and garlic processing plants. Our Strategic Energy Management Plan (SEMP) was created to grow our renewable energy portfolio. Starting in the USA, the plan has lead to some powerful initiatives that tackle climate change and are part of our vision of ‘Re-imagining global agriculture’.
Our Fernley plant in Nevada is the only geothermal based vegetable drying facility in the world. The entire plant is powered 100% onsite by naturally occurring underground hot springs (270°F). The geothermal power provides approximately 216,982 MBTU (one million British thermal units) of carbon-free hot water annually and means that we’re saving the environment the equivalent of approximately 11,500 metric tonnes of CO2.
We also use the most powerful energy provider in the universe, the sun. Our Firebaugh plant, California, is part powered by a solar conversion system and is able to generate 3.06 MW of power. This offsets 40% of the site’s electrical usage in renewable solar energy, saving the equivalent of approximately 1,750 MT of carbon. The system runs alongside a 1.3MW existing co-generation unit, where heat recovery is used in the dehydration process. Between these two systems, the plant is 100% energy independent and even generates an energy surplus for the grid.
Another energy saving initiative that’s underway is the warehouse and exterior lighting project which, since 2016 has been replacing obsolete light fixtures across our processing plants with energy efficient smart LEDs. The initiative is saving energy and reducing costs and maintenance time.
We are keeping an expert eye on energy efficiency through our innovative Energy Monitoring Programme, which monitors utility usage for gas, steam, electricity and waste-water to fields at both the Firebaugh and Fernley plants.
The programme allows plants to have an overview of energy use and ensure smoother running of operations. They can track usage and look for trends that may show usages higher than normal and highlight where improvements can be made.