Cavendish Farms, a producer of frozen potato products, has opened a new bio-gas facility.
"This is the first facility in the potato industry to take solid potato waste and convert it into usable energy," said Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms.
Most facilities treat wastewater produced from processing, but the Cavendish bio-gas facility also takes the solid waste from potato processing and through anaerobic digestion, converts it into energy for the Cavendish processing plants.
"The investment in this new technology benefits our environment while being financially beneficial to our business model," Irving said.
The facility marks the single biggest reduction in greenhouse gases in PEI. It will help achieve a 30 to 35 per cent reduction in the overall carbon footprint of the potato processing plants; and reduce reliance on fossil fuel.
Fewer trucks will be required to bring fuel to the plant, and there will no longer be a need for trucks to remove potato waste from the plant—saving 1,450 km per day.
"This technology helps Cavendish Farms continue with our focus of a sustainable processing mindset, Irving said. "It creates less dependence on fossil fuels through an efficient, controlled cycle by capturing potato processing by-product and converting it into energy, all on one site."
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the 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 the facility was explored in 2004, with development started 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, which specializes in bio-gas plant design around the world.