Open Country recently won the EECA-sponsored Large Energy User Award for their work to reduce carbon emissions at their Awarua site near Invercargill.
The company is the second largest dairy manufacturer in New Zealand, processing 10% of all the country's milk. They're also the second largest whole milk powder exporter worldwide.
The winning project, a new 13 mega-watt (MW) electrode boiler, is part of Open Country's greenhouse gas emissions reduction programme that aims to cut down their environmental impact. The new boiler is low-emission and powered by renewable energy. The first of its kind worldwide, it provides steam to the site's new spray drying plant, which processes up to an eye-watering 60,000 litres of milk per hour into high quality milk powder for export.
Not only does this reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy, but reduces our greenhouse gas footprint and contaminants emitted to the air which is critical to our planet.
EECA has been working with Open Country since 2019, providing advice and support on energy-related projects. At the start of the electrode boiler project, EECA provided $15,000 in funding to help with the feasibility study that determined whether the project was environmentally and economically viable, and a further $200,000 through EECA's Technology Demonstration Fund to help Open Country carry out the project.
The Technology Demonstration Fund supports the early adoption of proven technology or an innovative process improvement that isn't yet well used in New Zealand.