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Cargill Waste-to-Energy System Brings Meat Plant’s Renewable Capacity to 80 Percent

Canadian agribusiness, Cargill, will invest approximately $37.8 million ($36 million Canadian dollars) in a waste-to-energy project at its High River, Alberta, beef processing facility. The system is expected to increase to 80 percent the plant’s ability to generate the energy needed for production.

When complete, High River waste-to-energy project is expected to produce 1.4 megawatts of power and eliminate 21,000 metric tons of fossil fuel emissions annually.

The system will use organic waste that would otherwise go to landfills. 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, 75-to-80 percent of the facility’s energy needs will come from renewable sources.

A portion of the funds, approximately $10 million, is financed by the Government of Canada as part of its initiative to help meat processors reduce their environmental impact. The waste-to-energy collaboration is the first of its type in North America and the largest single waste-to-energy project Cargill has undertaken on the continent, the company said.

Cargill’s High River beef processing facility harvests 4,000 beef cattle daily, representing $1 billion in annual cattle purchases and totaling one-third of the nation’s processed beef volume. The facility is also ISO 14001 certified, meaning the plant has an Environmental Management System (EMS) focused on a systematic and measurable approach to improving its environmental impact.

Cargill has set new environmental goals for the next five years. The company expects to improve energy efficiency, GHG intensity and freshwater efficiency, all by five percent, in 2015.

Photo: Cargill

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