As it produces meat products, a beef-processing facility expects to generate much of the energy it needs from the waste left after making those products. Owned by Winnipeg-based Cargill, the food processor based in High River, Alberta, will invest approximately $39 million in the waste-to-energy project.

A portion of the funds, about $10 million, will come from the Canadian government as part of its initiative to help meat processors reduce their environmental footprint. This public-private collaboration for creating energy from waste that otherwise would be destined for a landfill is the first of its type in North America, according to Cargill, and reportedly the largest single waste-to-energy project that the company has undertaken on the continent.

Once in operation, the system will eliminate 23,148 tons of fossil fuel emissions annually in addition to mitigating the facility’s electric energy requirements by producing 1.4 MW of power. Using organic waste that would otherwise go to landfills also reduces the load on those sites. Combined with the facility’s existing methane gas capture that prevents release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, and its subsequent use as fuel for the plant, approximately 80 percent of the facility’s energy needs will come from renewable sources.