Environmental move could be the making of milk

A new and ambitious energy and emissions reduction target has been set by a key player in the dairy sector.

The announcement by Synlait to reduce their milk processing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 50 percent and to never build another coal boiler is an impressive and much needed commitment, according to Andrew Caseley Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“The detail coming out of Synlait’s strategy to reduce their emissions, energy use and overall environmental impact reveals a bold yet achievable ambition. Rarely has New Zealand seen commitment on this scale from a primary industry business to be an environmental leader,” says Caseley.

Listed within the strategy is a large scale electrode boiler, due to be commissioned at Synlait’s Dunsandel site in January next year. This large scale new-to-New Zealand boiler technology is the focus of a demonstration project supported by EECA and it has the potential to help phase out fossil fuels across the sector and beyond.

“The electrode boiler is far more efficient than traditional coal boilers and it runs on clean highly renewable electricity. The opportunity for emissions reductions through progressively introducing this technology to New Zealand is huge – particularly when considering the wider landscape of meat and dairy processing, which predominantly uses fossil fuels for its processing requirements.

“On its own, it is a quantum step forward, but set against the backdrop of work happening at Synlait’s existing coal-fuelled site to reduce energy demand, there are gains coming from all sides of the business,” added Caseley.

EECA engaged the University of Waikato and together they teamed up with Synlait to identify ways of improving energy use in current operations, in particular from integrating heat pump technology and recovering and re-using waste heat. This new technology and proven method of recycling waste energy would see a lower demand on the existing coal boilers and therefore less fuel would need to be burned.

“This is a comprehensive energy and emissions reduction package, and it is exciting to see tried and true energy management techniques combined with sharp new technology. We are hugely supportive of businesses who are embracing the future and helping to move New Zealand towards a low carbon economy,” concluded Caseley.

Media enquiries:

Beth Rose, Senior Communications Advisor, EECA

Phone: 021 082 05547

Email: beth.rose@eeca.govt.nz