Climate change is accelerating, sea ice is at record low, permafrost is melting and literally the world is on fire. You might be wondering how to fix this thing. If you do a little bit of research and you will come to realize the fact that all it boils down to one thing that is – Energy and EROI (Energy Return on Energy Investment). We need energy to keep the modern way of life going and we need coal and oil to do that. There is no way around it right? Of course not, pineapple waste is here to save our skins. Scientists have found a way to use pineapple waste to produce energy. It may seem inconsequential to some but this is quite interesting according to some energy experts.
Around 24.8 million tons of pineapples were produced in 2013 worldwide. Costa Rica, Philippines, Brazil, and Thailand are among the largest producers. What if it wouldn’t be only an energy source for human alimentation but also a renewable source to provide electrical power?
Del Monte is the company which is betting big on making better use of pineapple waste. They are not a small player in the industry of processed vegetable and fruit variants. The Del Monte Pacific Ltd, also known as the DMPI owns the Del Monte Philippines Inc. which is now in the news for not only their delicious food products but also their commendable role in making the world a greener place.
Pineapple Waste for The Production of Methane Rich Biogas to Power Two 1.4 MW Generators
Allegedly, DMPI accounts for nearly 10% of the total annual production of the pineapple products. The company partnered with Global Water Engineering (GWE) in order to make productive use of all the pineapple waste and convert it into useful energy.
GWE is based in Hong Kong and has established 150 waste-to-green energy plants in several parts of the world. This led to the installation of a pineapple wastewater treatment plant by GWE which used the pineapple waste for the production of methane rich biogas in quantities enough to run two electric power generators with a capacity of 1.4 MW each.
This waste water converter allegedly surpassed the expectations of the company and has been successful in removing over 90 percent of the organic pollution. The DMPI originally had a target of treating nearly five million cubic meters of wastewater annually and the process results are much more than that.
It is one of the largest operations ever taken up by the GWE. The GWE had to customize the treatment plant for the needs of DMPI. The wastewater is pretreated for the removal of any solid particles before they mix up with rest of the effluents. The aerobic excess sludge is mechanically dewatered. All effluents eventually have to pass through a primary clarifier. The biogas ultimate produced is passed onto two electricity generators which produce the power.
An Ideal Example for The Food and Beverage Industry Across the World?
The success of GWE is not only limited to the food and beverage industry but also starch and fermentation and other agro-industries as well. Their wastewater treatments have been utilized in various other organic industries as well.
Going green has benefited DMPI in many ways. This means that DMPI can successfully utilize green energy rather than fossil fuels. The Return of Investment or the ROI is quick. The plant can benefit from the continuous supply of electricity as well as cut down on the electricity bills. This has led to decrease in the size of the carbon footprint of the process plant and has definite positive impact on the environment. The electricity gains are huge and this project can be considered to be an ideal example for the food and beverage industry across the world.
Methane is one of the principal components of biogas and therefore is conducive to our environment. If the production and utilization of biogas are complemented with other green sources of energy like the wind energy, it can be used as a highly reliable source of energy.
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