PG&E gave Bell Carter the rebate for a new aeration system expected to save about 2.7 million kWh, or enough to power about 396 homes, according to KHSL of Chico. The $228,949 project is projected to save the company $329,208 a year, and reduce its carbon footprint by an annual 788 tons, the Red Bluff Daily News reports.
The project uses automated controls for 65 motors that inject air into wastewater, measuring dissolved oxygen levels and choosing the most efficient pump to use. The pumps were previously turned on and off by hand.
Bell Carter director of engineering Ron Kerr said the aeration project took about four months to design and install.
The company is also installing an evaporative cooler system, which reclaims water used to rinse olives, cools it and uses it for other purposes such as washing floors. It is expected to save 50 million gallons of water a year.
Overall, efficiency initiatives at the plant are eliminating 1,489 tons of CO2 and 0.20 tons of nitrogen oxide per year. And the company is installing solar power in its receiving building, in a project that should be completed in March.
PG&E North Valley executive manager Lia White said some of the largest energy users in the region are agricultural and food processing facilities.