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Danone announces new biomass project at New Zealand spray drying plant

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Danone has announced a NZ$40 million (€23.7 million) investment in a new biomass project at its New Zealand spray drying plant.

The company has a target of reaching net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2021 and hopes that the installation of a new biomass boiler will help to reduce the plant’s emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.

Danone’s Nutricia plant is located in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. It processes raw milk from 18 local farms into powder that is used to produce infant milk formula for leading brands including Aptamil and Karicare.

Boilers play a key role in spray drying – the process of converting milk into dry powder through heat application – with approximately 85% of the plant’s energy consumption coming from steam production. The plant is currently powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); however, Danone’s biomass boiler will be powered by locally-sourced wood fuels.

Global resource management company Veolia will design and manage the construction of the biomass boiler. Alexandre Lagny, New Zealand general manager for Veolia, said: “Veolia has supported Danone with the development of the biomass project, aligning available biomass resources with optimal conversion technologies, while leveraging the company’s operational expertise to achieve the best possible environmental footprint for the site.”

Cyril Marniquet, Danone’s New Zealand operations director, said: “This significant investment, in what we expect to be New Zealand’s first carbon-neutral plant of its kind, underscores Danone’s global ‘One Planet, One Health’ vision and the belief that the health of people and planet are interconnected.

“We share the New Zealand Government’s ambitions in delivering a low-emission, climate-resilient future. At Danone, we’ve set ourselves an objective of becoming a carbon-neutral company across our entire scope – from farm to family – by 2050. It is through key investments like this one that we take a step forward towards reaching this ambition.”