Tatua dairy and food processes case study
The rising cost of natural gas prompted Tatua Co-operative Dairy Factory near Hamilton to look at alternative energy sources to run its boilers.
Wood-fired boilers are common in sawmills and wood processing plants, but are yet to be used in a New Zealand dairy factory. Tatua's site engineer Jack van Lankveld says they were motivated by a desire to be more self-sufficient and environmentally friendly.
"If the [gas] supply went down we would have to stop operating. There's also the whole carbon issue to think about - this is something that is becoming increasingly important."
The company commissioned a feasibility study that found converting to wood-fired boilers could cut its energy costs by up to $835,000 a year. The cost of buying and installing the new boilers would be paid back in five to six years. The feasibility study looked at a range of issues, including how much steam the factory uses, how much the demand fluctuates, and how wood waste could be delivered and stored. Before proceeding with the conversion to wood-fired boilers the Tatua dairy factory must first find a long-term supply of reasonably priced wood waste.