A $6.1 million investment by Minneapolis-based Cargill to upgrade an aging boiler system at its Plainview, Texas, beef-processing facility has increased efficiency, reduced energy consumption and added steam capacity.
The Plainview boiler system’s efficiency
has reached 92 percent, a 19 percent improvement over the aging system it
replaced. The investment was the latest of more than $50 million that Cargill
has invested in processing plant efficiency projects at Plainview over the past
“This new system has all of the new
technological bells and whistles, including components that continuously
regulate the fuel and oxygen mixture to optimize heating efficiency, a
condensing economizer that helps minimize heat loss that otherwise reduces
efficiency, as well as a new biogas blending system,” says Scott Hartter, vice
president of environment, health and safety for Cargill’s meat businesses.”
The return on investment comes from
reduced utility costs, better energy use and more efficient production.
The Plainview facility also lowers its
energy use by generating 30 percent of its fuel needs through a biogas recovery
system that collects methane gas from wastewater treatment ponds. The methane
is generated using anaerobic digesters to break down organic material in the
plant’s wastewater. The gas then is used as a fuel source, which prevents it
from being released into the atmosphere. Capturing the methane from biogas
significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The biogas recovery system
reduces demand for natural gas equal to the amount consumed annually by more
than 2,500 residential users, according to Cargill.