Leftover Yoplait whey helps power General Mills plant - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  May 10, 2017

Leftover Yoplait whey helps power General Mills plant

General Mills Inc. has implemented an innovative process that uses leftover Yoplait Greek whey to fuel 10% of the electrical needs at a Tennessee production plant. 

In a May 6 blog post for the Corporate Eco Forum, General Mills Chief Sustainability Officer Jerry Lynch explained that the company has been using a process that combines the leftover greek yogurt whey with the plant's wastewater in a digester and biogas engine that is generating 1.6 MW of electricity. On top of that, excess heat from the biogas generator has reduced the Murfreesboro, Tenn., plant's natural gas needs by 10%, according to the post. 

General Mills in 2016 said the process is saving the company $2.4 million a year on energy costs. 

Lynch's post offered broader insight on the consumer food manufacturer's broader sustainability strategy, which the biogas generator in Tennessee, along with other similar projects at facilities across the globe, help support. 

"The efforts at the plants are part of our ongoing efforts to trim our energy use and our greenhouse gas emissions," Lynch wrote. "These are all examples of finding meaningful ways within our value chain to reduce climate impact, all of which ladder up to our climate goal." 

That climate goal, set in late 2015, includes a commitment to lowering the company's absolute emissions by 28% across its value chain. Thus far, Lynch said General Mills has reduced the company's absolute GHG emissions — scope 1 and 2 —  by 13% from 2010 to 2016.

Additionally, the company currently has 19 manufacturing plants that have implemented more than 300 projects centered on energy efficiency and solid waste reductions, according to the post. 

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