Tag Archives: Energy

Improving Profitability By Using Byproducts & Waste

We often focus on reducing ingredient costs and increasing efficiency but sometimes miss other opportunities to reduce cost and increase income. The stories linked below give some examples of the kind of thoughts we should be having.

Basically they focus on utilising by products and waste – the point just needs to be made that these should only get focus once they have been minimised through process optimisation and management.

Scientists Investigate Valuable Byproducts From Waste

Cranberry waste may lead to alternative ingredients.jpg

(click the image to open website)

SA Miller Reduce Effluent Discharges While Generating Heating Gas

SAB Miller Uses Brewery Waste from Alrode Brewery in South Africa to Reduce Carbon Footprint _ EcoLocalizer.jpg

(click the image to open website)

Lindt Chocolate Sell Cocoa Husks to Power Station Allowing Then to Process Whole Beans

Cocoa power project gets green light-1.jpg

(click the image to open website)

Food Industry – Biogas

Energy and Food Waste are becoming major issues in Africa at present, with warning of dire consequences if the existing trends continue. One technology that sits at the intersection of these sectors is the treatment of processing waste using anaerobic digestion – or biogas.

Biogas is a simple process that is used at household level by millions and is increasingly being used in Europe as part of the sustainable energy drive.

Any organic waste can be fermented in simple ambient reactors over a long period, producing a combustible mixture of gasses consisting mainly of CO2 and Methane. Environmentally, burning Methane is beneficial because it has a hothouse effect some 14 times that of CO2 and is often naturally released by fermenting waste.

The liquid remaining after fermentation is stable and not noxious, even if the waste fed to the process are eg human waste and can be used as a fertiliser.

In household processes gas is used for direct heating and lighting, while in industrial applications is can generate electricity which can be sold to the grid.

There has recently been news of a commercial approach in Canada

Food firms set to benefit from biogas boom.jpg

Food Production

Ontario-based StormFisher Biogas is forming partnerships with North American food and drinks firms to allow it to use the organic by-products of farming and food processing operations to produce and sell renewable energy.

“Food processors typically send their by-products to landfills or compost sites. Since we are able to extract more value from these by-products by using the energy they create, we are able to charge a lower disposal fee than landfill and compost sites”.

He added that another advantage afforded processors was environmental stewardship: “This allows food processors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the gases that are produced by these by-products are used to create energy, rather then seeping into the atmosphere.”

“When captured and used to generate energy, however, methane serves as an excellent fuel and provides the dual environment benefit of being sequestered from the atmosphere and displacing traditional, polluting forms of energy like coal.”

Low Foodmile Snacks

We in South Africa and probably in much of Africa look at the Food Mile concept as a novelty which doesn’t really effect us – maybe wrongly. Now following low fat and low calories snacks we have Low Foodmile snacks

The article discussed Boot’s (sandwiches) and Walkers (potato crisps) are trying to increase the content of raw materials grown in Britain in response to their consumer’s perceived needs. Of course the effect on the environment is much more complex than just changing a raw material supplier but its a start.

Probably the concept is difficult to implement where the consumer is driven first and foremost by the amount of food they can access for the spending power they have -worry about the impact on the environment is more appropriate to the wealthier consumer who worries about things like organic food, natural additives and ethical trading.

I will probably publish a bit about Foodmiles and related environmentally focussed issues on my African Agribusiness Issues Blog as there is much discussion of the concept.

Bottled Water

The Mail & Gaurdian has reported that

In the United States, public pressure has been growing to force powerful corporations to disclose where their bottled water comes from, after research indicated that up to 40% of bottled water used tap water as its source.

While in some countries (I saw it in Senegal some years ago) the processing and bottling of unsafe tap water can can guarantee its safety, this is surely not the case in most of the USA and South Africa.

Besides the cost to the consumer bottled water has a large cost to the environment.

Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 17-million barrels of oil a year — enough fuel for more than a million US cars for a year — and generates more than 2,5-million tonnes of carbon dioxide.