Grande's Green Initiatives Use Biogas to Help Power the Whey Production Process

banner aboutUsIf you didn’t know by now, 34% of Grande’s milk supply is produced with renewable power technology. As part of our dedication to being a socially responsible corporate leader, we strive to implement management practices that are not only designed to protect the environment, but also improve the environmental conditions at both our farms and facilities. From water conservation projects to restoring natural ecosystems, and plenty of other environmentally friendly efforts in between, we consistently think about the environmental footprint we’re leaving behind, and how we can reduce its size.

This year, we’re happy to introduce a new biogas Microturbine at our Brownsville Cheese and Whey production facility. This Microturbine will take the methane-rich biogas produced by the anaerobic digester at the Brownsville Waste Treatment Plant and turn it into electrical energy for use at our Brownsville facility. In the past, this biogas was simply flared off because the equipment was not in place to allow the methane to be used by the facility, and unburned methane can harm the atmosphere. However, thanks to the addition of a new biogas compression/condition skid and two new 200KW Microturbines, more biogas can now be converted into usable energy for our facility to use during the production process.

Anaerobic digestion happens when microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen, leaving behind a biogas that consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. In our case, the anaerobic digestion process at the Brownsville Waste Treatment Plant takes high-strength liquid waste that’s a byproduct of the cheese and whey production and cleaning process, and turns it into a low-pressure biogas. From there, moisture is removed from the gas after being compressed in the biogas compression/conditioning skid, and it’s sent in a pipeline to Grande’s twin Mictoturbines. Here, the turbines convert the gas into electricity, and pumps the energy (82 million BTUs/day) back into our facilities for use.

Since 2008, our energy conservation projects have created a massive savings for Grande – both financially and environmentally speaking. Over the past 6 years, we’ve saved millions of therms of gas and kilowatt-hours of electricity all thanks to our energy conservation efforts. With the addition of these two Microturbines, our system treats over 60,000 gallons/day of high-strength waste that would otherwise have to be trucked elsewhere. Not only do these projects help us leave less of an environmental footprint, but their cost-savings benefits also help us maintain our competitive pricing for food manufacturers like you. All-in-all, it’s a win-win situation for us, the environment, and our customers.

Whether we’re creating new opportunities to use biogas or implementing methods to reduce our waste discharge, all of Grande’s policies and practices are developed with an environmentally friendly conscious. To learn more about how these green methods assist with our high-quality whey production, please contact one of our food scientists today! 

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