ofi introduces two more biomass boilers for sustainable cocoa production

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Two circular biomass boilers have entered operation at olam food ingredients’ (ofi’s) cocoa processing factories in the Netherlands and Germany, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The boilers use cocoa shells, a by-product of the production process, as fuel to generate steam, which in turn powers the crafting of cocoa ingredients from ofi’s brand, deZaan, at its factories in Koog aan de Zaan, Netherlands, and in Mannheim, Germany – where the company believes it will be the first cocoa shell boiler of its kind in the country.
The boiler at Koog aan de Zaan was partly funded by a subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and took over four years from concept to completion.
It will reduce natural gas usage and CO2 emissions at the facility by 50%. In 2022 alone, ofi said it used 8,000 tons of residual cocoa shells to generate green energy equivalent to using 3.4 million cubic metres of natural gas, helping cut absolute CO2 emissions at the facility by 23%. This is the equivalent of warming over 3,0001 Dutch houses per year, the company said.
The second boiler at ofi’s factory in Mannheim has been developed through a joint venture with energy company MVV.
It has the potential to provide up to 90% of the steam needed to power the facility, saving approximately 8,000 tons of CO2 annually. according to ofi.
The new roll-out adds to the circular biomass shell boilers used in ofi cocoa factories in Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia and Singapore.
Susanne Folkerts, global operations head of sustainability & environment at ofi said: "We’re taking action to protect the planet and unlock value for our customers so that they can offer their consumers more sustainable choices. From the support we give to farmers worldwide to how we turn their cocoa into high-quality ingredients in our processing factories. These innovative boilers are key in reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions and making our Cocoa Compass ambition real.
"We’re also playing our part to accelerate the climate agenda of the EU Green Deal, in which moving to a more circular economy is fundamental. We’re thrilled to have been recognised by the Dutch government as a sustainability innovation leader and hope that other manufacturing businesses are inspired to invest in circular biomass as part of their decarbonisation journeys."
David van Baarle, industrial sustainability specialist, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO), said: “ofi has demonstrated how making the most of by-products can lead to significant CO2 savings. By developing a biomass boiler that uses its own cocoa shells to power the production of its deZaan cocoa ingredients, it is setting an inspiring example for other industrial companies. We are therefore grateful that ofi is giving its industry peers the opportunity to follow its example.”

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