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Published: Tuesday, 11/6/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Campbell’s starts work on Napoleon biogas plant

Facility to convert waste to electricity

BY JON CHAVEZ BLADE
BUSINESS WRITER

NAPOLEON — Campbell's Soup Co. is partnering with a Florida company to establish a commercial biogas power plant that can generate up to 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy to help power the food manufacturer’s operations in Napoleon.

A $10 million biogas power plant, known as Napoleon Biogas, is under construction on seven acres adjacent to Campbell’s Harrison Township manufacturing complex, and the project is expected to be operational by mid-2013.

CH4 Biogas LLC of Atlantic Beach, Fla., which designed the plant, will also own and operate the facility. The plan was announced in March, 2011.

The biogas plant is CH4’s second commercial biogas plant, and it uses technology pioneered in Europe, said Lauren Toretto, a CH4 vice president.

“It’s designed specifically for organic mixed wastes. It is a cutting-edge technology design," she said. "It will have a very symbiotic relationship with [Campbell]. We’re taking their waste material and giving them back electricity."

The bio-gas plant will use the potato peelings, tomato remnants, and other organic waste materials discarded by Campbell to create methane gas that will be used to fuel two 1.4-megawatt turbines that will generate electricity.

The plant also will use organic waste from nearby farms and food processors to produce an estimated 22.7 million kilowatt-hours per year of renewable electricity and low-pressure steam.

Approximately 450 tons a day of vegetable rinds, eggshells, dairy by-products, and other natural materials would be anaerobically digested in enclosed containers to produce the methane.

The plant is the first joint venture between CH4 and Campbell of Camden, N.J., which has made a large commitment to using renewable energy for many of its operations.

In 2001 Campbell had a 9.8-megawatt solar array constructed at its Napoleon plant, which is the company’s largest production facility. The solar array provides about 15 percent of the plant’s power, and the company said it will save about $4 million in energy costs during the next 20 years.

Carla Burigatto, a Campbell’s spokesman, said the biogas plants will accomplish two goals: diverting 35 to 50 percent of Campbell’s waste away from Henry County landfills and providing Campbell’s Napoleon operation with 25 percent of its electric power needs. Campbell’s signed a 15-year agreement with CH4 to purchase 100 percent of the power that the biogas plant generates.

Ms. Burigatto said the biogas plant and the solar array help Campbell fulfill its corporate social responsibility strategy by providing the Napoleon operation with 40 percent of its power through renewable energy.

“We have a long-standing commitment to social responsibility, to help deliver both sustainability and business results. As a company, we are looking to cut our environmental footprint in half,” Ms. Burigatto said.

The Campbell’s spokesman said the company’s sustainability goals are global, and the firm has used solar power at manufacturing operations in Belgium and also at U.S. operations in Ohio, Texas, and California.

Dave Stangis, Campbell’s vice president of public affairs and corporate responsibility, said the new biogas technology will improve the Napoleon operation’s recycling rate to approximately 95 percent, thereby reaching the Ohio operation’s 2020 recycling target seven years early.

Contact Jon Chavez at: chavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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