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Cargill cuts all carbon emissions at Norwegian Bergneset feed mill

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A new electric feed dryer delivered by Geelen Counterflow will cut energy consumption drastically and make Cargill’s factory at Bergneset in Balsfjord, Norway the world’s first zero-emission feed factory. 

“We have a large responsibility when it comes to reducing energy consumption in the industry and this is a golden opportunity to do so. We are highly invested in this project and it creates great interest and a ripple effect within Cargill,” said Monica Hagen, business operations lead, Cargill Aqua Nutrition North Sea.

The factory at Bergneset is the first in the industry to put this zero-emission technology to use to reduce the CO2 footprint. The dryer will utilize new and innovative technology for heat integration through high-temperature heat pumps that generate a considerably more energy-efficient process.

By switching from fossil fuel to electric power, the factory cuts CO2 emissions by 3,000 tons yearly. Simultaneously, the factory’s total energy consumption is reduced by more than 20%. “When we replace gas for drying with electric heat pumps, we use 3.5 times less energy. Electrification of feed drying by heat pumps is ground-breaking and we are the first ones doing it in this type of industry. Feed drying is our most energy-consuming process, so carrying out this project means a lot. We will save 15,000,000 kWh and 3,000 tons CO2 a year,” said project manager Jan Helge Førde, who has been in charge of the project for two years. The dryer, the world’s largest of its sort, is delivered by Geelen Counterflow. Cargill has also received support from Norsk Energi and Process Integration ApS in Denmark.

“This project is driven by energy optimization and sustainability. The investment does not yield increased capacity, but reduced energy consumption and cleaner production as we cut all CO2 emissions. Saving CO2 taxes on top of this is a nice bonus, and not least there are many employees who appreciate us spending time and resources on sustainable projects. This creates pride within the company,” Førde said. 

The investment is part of Cargill’s strategic improvement effort and in line with Enova’s goal of promoting innovation of energy and green technology that can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Enova has supported the project with NOK 33 million ($3,9 million). “The funding from Enova makes up 40% of the total costs and is essential to financing it. The rest we contribute ourselves,” said Hagen. Since 2019, Cargill has invested nearly NOK 200 million ($23,8 million) in initiatives for energy efficiency improvement and sustainability in the feed factories, and the Bergneset project is the third step in this investment line. The project is also in line with Cargill’s new sustainability program, SeaFurther, which is all about reducing carbon footprint of fish farming.

Monica Hagen said this technology will be highly relevant when similar investment needs occur at other feed factories, and also promotes motivation for new thinking in other processes. “This is the largest innovation project we have ever carried through. We are lucky to have an owner willing to invest and who wants to develop our factories in the right direction. Cargill is good at drawing synergies from factories across national borders. If this succeeds in Norway, we may see similar technology introduced to factories worldwide. We are proud to contribute to sustainability in the north, and it’s a great joy to us if we can create ripple effects through this project,” concluded Hagen.

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