Fonterra operates 30 dairy manufacturing sites in New Zealand, each of which requires a large amount of energy to operate. It is investigating alternative fuel sources, such as biomass, to move to a carbon neutral energy supply. This involves testing new technologies prior to scaling them across the business.
The proximity of Fonterra’s Brightwater site to an existing wood chip supply provides an ideal opportunity to run a pilot. The coal boiler at the Brightwater milk processing plant in Nelson is now co-firing with wood chip. The conversion slashes the amount of coal used and cuts carbon emissions at the site by around 2,400 tonnes a year, equivalent to the emissions of 1000 cars.
This project can be replicated by other companies with coal boilers, and Fonterra is sharing the lessons it has learned. Fonterra is working to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050 across all New Zealand operations.