Woodlands Dairy commissions biomass boilers to reduce climate emissions

Production offices. Photo: Woodlands Dairy

Production offices. Photo: Woodlands Dairy

Published Jun 19, 2023


Woodlands Dairy, based in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, has commissioned a second biomass boiler. This will further increase its use of renewable energy and reduce the dairy manufacturer's carbon emissions.

Woodlands Dairy sustainability manager André Adendorff said that “the first biomass boiler was commissioned in 2016 with the main objective of reducing heavy fuel oil (HFO) and electricity usage to generate steam for the plant.”

By switching over to a biomass boiler, the company, which produces the well-known First Choice milk, reduced its electric boiler consumption by 40% and HFO consumption by 83%.

"The second biomass boiler will further reduce our HFO usage by approximately 31% and result in an increase in biomass of approximately 10.7%. The obvious benefit of moving to renewable energy sources for steam generation is the impressive reduction in carbon emissions,” said Adendorff.

The boiler, nicknamed Bessie, produces steam, with the Woodlands Dairy team ironing out standard commissioning issues.

The company said that the boilers aim to generate a base load of steam to mitigate the risk of disruption to operations. This is when a traditionally powered steam plant fails. If the projected reduction of approximately 31% in fossil fuel (HFO) is achieved, the plants’ carbon emissions will be reduced by approximately 1046 t/CO2e per year.

Biomass fuel, consisting of wet sawdust and chipped timber waste, will be sourced from a local timber company, MTO. This company is situated 70 km away from Woodlands Dairy.

“Sourcing local renewable biomass reduces emissions caused by biomass transportation. It also ensures working opportunities for the local labour force, generating economic growth for the community,” Adendorff said.

Biomass boilers add to the company’s already strong sustainability efforts. This includes solar panels supplementing the plant's energy needs as well as water recycling which reduces the burden on municipal water supplies.