Food processor Talley’s is taking big steps towards reducing its carbon footprint at its Marlborough shellfish and vegetable processing plant, by replacing five fossil fuel boilers with new technology powered by locally sourced renewable fuel.
The existing boilers – two coal and three diesel-fired - generate steam used as a heat source for vegetable and shellfish processing. They will be replaced with a new 6MW boiler fuelled by wood pellets - a renewable fuel that uses the waste streams from timber processing in the Marlborough area.
By making this switch, which will mean an end to the plant’s use of coal and diesel by next year, Talley’s will shave 3,867 tonnes of CO2 off its annual carbon footprint per annum, which is a 95,804 tonnes of CO2 equivalent reduction over the lifetime of the boilers. To put this in context, this is equivalent to taking approximately 840 cars off the road every year - based on an average car emission of 4.6 tonnes of CO2 emitted per year.
The steam reticulation system will also get an efficiency boost with a new steam distribution header that will reduce energy losses caused by poor flow within the pipe network.
The project is on track to start saving carbon by the middle of 2023.
CEO Tony Hazlett says there are wider benefits to the project with about 15 full-time equivalent jobs generated for the project lifecycle, from start to handover, and that jobs for locals are a priority.
“There is also potential for upskilling workers, which is important as industry looks to convert to a non-carbon future.”
The local service industry will be the first port of call for maintenance and servicing, and Talley’s will be sourcing its wood pellet fuels from Marlborough rather than bringing in fossil fuels from external sources.
Hazlett says that the company is committed to reducing energy consumption throughout its business divisions, and that the boiler upgrade at the Marlborough plant is just one of the initiatives in action across the company to reduce carbon and help mitigate climate change impacts.
“We are looking at our carbon emissions and energy use across the company and developing an updated reduction strategy,” says Hazlett. “Process heat accounts for over a quarter of New Zealand’s energy-related emissions, so it is an area that represents a huge opportunity for CO2 emission reduction.”
“We have implemented several fossil fuel conversions, including a coal to biomass boiler replacement in Northland and a significant plant upgrade in Waikato. We have also made conversions at other business sites, including a cascade heat pump, a biogas boiler and a new heat pump and pellet boiler.
“We are looking at everything to see where we can reduce our emissions and implement real change.”
The PEF is being co-funded through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund, administered by EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).