The company expects to begin work in mid-2011 on a system to reduce these emissions and to improve the capture of biogas.
The system will use bacteria to break down nitrogen and release nitrogen gas, thus preventing emissions into the South Platte River.
Work on the project is expected to complete by the third quarter of 2012, at an estimated cost of over $6 million.
Cargill says it has already reduced nitrogen discharges at the plant by 65 percent in the past four years, and the new initiative should help the plant reach 80 or 90 percent.
The company says the facility is compliant with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s requirements for discharge into the South Platte River.
“While we are proud of the strides we have made in areas such as methane gas capture and use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce our energy requirements by using methane gas to provide 30 percent of the facility’s total fuel needs, we are always looking for ways to improve our environmental footprint,” said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, assistant vice president and general manager at the facility.
Most of Cargill’s meat plants use methane from wastewater lagoons to help fuel operations. Biogas now displaces at least 20 percent of natural gas demand at Cargill’s North American beef processing plants, while reducing GHG emissions by more than 1.3 million metric tons over the past four years.
By the end of fiscal year 2010, Cargill obtained 11 percent of its energy from renewables, exceeding its 10 percent goal.
The company’s 2010 corporate responsibility report showed that the company fell short on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals, but made improvements in both areas.