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CHP plant constructed at South African cider manufacturing facility

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Global beverage company Distell has ramped up its sustainability efforts with the help of South African company SustainPower. The two companies collaborated on a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which was recently installed at Distell’s Springs cider manufacturing facility to convert the effluent treatment plant’s biogas by-product into power.

SustainPower provides modular gas-to-power solutions for biogas, natural gas and landfill gas housed and transported in custom-fitted shipping containers. The Cape Town-based firm provides sustainable, clean power to industries and commerce in the developing world.

Distell’s effluent treatment plant, which processes wastewater from the beverage making process, is designed to produce up to 100 cubic metres (m3) per hour of high-grade biogas with methane levels at around 90%. The SustainPower SP-550-BG-CHP harvests the mechanical energy from the generator and thermal energy from the combustion process and provides up to 450kW of electrical power. It also has 500kW of thermal energy available for use in the plant process.

Daniel Melenas, engineering manager at Distell Springs, said: “Distell is committed to leaving a positive legacy, which means finding opportunities at each point along their value chain to do more, be better, and foster positive change.

“We chose SustainPower because of their local presence and high-quality design and build. It was also impressive to see the machine produce electricity within only three days of arriving on-site.”

“We designed, built and tested the CHP unit in Cape Town before we shipped it to Distell,” said SustainPower COO Ames Martin. “Because the CHP unit is containerised, it arrives on-site fully prepped and ready, with minimal external installation work required, reducing project risk and potential downtime.”

Distell’s facility now has an average daily energy reduction of 5,500 kWh, translating to a saving of more than R300,000 (€18,000) per month, or a 6.7% overall reduction in electricity expenses for the Springs plant. The unit has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions at the facility by around 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide per month.

Rob Craig, head of product development at SustainPower added: “We’re not only focused on power generation that is sustainable, but also on a product that is sustainable and can meet the rigorous demands made on it over its lifetime. Thus, the real heart of ‘sustainable’ power generation.”