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Biogas to support General Mills’ 100% renewable electricity goals

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Major US food company General Mills has committed to 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030, partly by utilising biogas.

The Minnesota-based firm is investing in renewable energy efforts including anaerobic digestion and wind farms as part of the RE100 initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The renewable energy projects currently underway, as well as those in development, will enable General Mills to reduce Scope 2 emissions in its global operating facilities.

In the US, the company has a 1.6 MW generator fuelled by an anaerobic digester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee. The facility processes wastewater from its yoghurt and dough production into biogas. Power and heat generated are fed directly back into the yoghurt processing facility to reduce its annual grid power and natural gas purchases by up to 20%.

In South America, the company has a 335 kW biogas regeneration plant at its Paranvai Yoki location. This plant is one of the largest manufacturing facilities in Brazil where electric power is produced from biogas generated by the site’s wastewater treatment system. The power is used by the plant and excess is sent to the local electric utility, reducing the company’s power spend by 30%.

In Europe, General Mills has a 195 kW capacity biogas plant at its Arras, France Häagen-Dazs production facility. The plant generates power from the site’s wastewater treatment system. Any excess power generated from the biogas facility is sold to the local utility grid, while heat in the form of hot water is recovered to reduce natural gas consumption at the ice cream plant.

“Signing on to a movement like RE100 extends our commitment to renewable electricity globally, across our supply chain,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer at General Mills. “We know we’re able to drive more widespread action and impact when we make bold commitments, and we’re proud to be among those corporations that are taking the initiative to use scale for good because together, we can secure more measurable and meaningful results.”

Sam Kemmins, head of RE100, added: “We are pleased to welcome General Mills to RE100. It is great to see such an influential business commit to 100% renewable electricity globally.

“General Mills’ leadership sends a strong signal to the wider industry that corporations can make a major contribution to the creation of tomorrow’s clean, resilient energy systems.”