As part of its global sustainability efforts, Chiquita Brands International has installed a biodigester system at its Mundimar S.A. facility in Guapiles, Costa Rica. The biodigester uses excess fruit material and processing water from the facility to produce energy that is used by its facility and fertilizer for local palm producers and farmers.
The unique “gravity utilizing” design of the biodigester system allows for the circulation of processing water without using electricity, which creates a carbon neutral circulation process, according to the company.
In June last year, Chiquita Brands was awarded the 2009 Circle of Excellence award for its sustainability in supply chain logistics.
In other biomass news, Carr Farm in the UK is installing an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that is said to mark the biggest “energy farming” expansion program in Britain, according to Farmgen, a green energy specialist.
Crops are being grown nearby specifically to supply the new plant, which is expected to generate 1-megawatt of electricity that will be exported to the national grid. Local businesses have already signed up to buy the “green” energy from the Carr Farm. The plant will start providing renewable energy to power more than 1,000 homes next year.
The project is part of Farmgen’s £30 million (approximately $46 million) investment in energy farming. The company says AD plants are already commonplace across Europe, with around 4,000 operating in Germany alone.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are about 150 on-farm manure or anaerobic digesters now operating at livestock facilities with about 8,000 farms across the U.S. that are good candidates for capturing and using biogas.