AUSTRALIA’S largest wheat processor and ethanol manufacturer, the Manildra Group, will take a significant step toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions thanks to an $85 million investment from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
At a total cost of $190M, the project will transform how the Manildra Group’s manufacturing plant, Shoalhaven Starches, in Nowra, New South Wales, generates steam and electricity by eliminating coal from its energy mix and replacing it with a gas-fired cogeneration plant.
The company will install two behind-the-meter high-efficiency gas-fired combined heat and power plants, replacing the coal-fired boilers and the existing gas boilers.
This means the Manildra Group will no longer use coal to generate steam and will also enable the company to divest a dormant Lithgow coal mine.
The installation of cogeneration technology will reduce emissions at the energy-intensive Nowra plant by about 40 per cent, abating an estimated 332,000 tonnes of CO2-e annually.
At its Nowra site, Manildra Group produces Australian-grown and made food and industrial products from vital wheat glutens, wheat starches, and syrups to ethanol and animal stockfeed.
Manildra Group managing director John Honan said this project would establish a stable, reliable, and cleaner energy source, critical to local jobs, industries and the growth, success and future of their manufacturing operations.
“Employing more than 350 people on site, our integrated manufacturing process relies on heat (from steam) production to power our operations, day-in, day-out, 365 days a year,” Mr Honan said.
“We’re very proud to work with the CEFC, their support has enabled Manildra Group to increase cleaner energy sources, substantially reduce our greenhouse gases and reduce coal usage entirely.”
CEFC chief executive officer Ian Learmonth said Manildra Group recognises need for long-term investment in lower carbon fuel to power production.
“With this investment the CEFC is helping finance the decarbonisation of the largest integrated wheat gluten, wheat starch, glucose and ethanol facility of its kind in the world – a major step forward for emissions reduction in Australian manufacturing,” Mr Learmonth said.
“Installation of the combined heat and power plant is the first stage in Manildra Group’s transition to low carbon manufacturing.
“The company will actively investigate green hydrogen to power the plant in the future, as well as more conventional renewable energy sources as electrification of industrial steam becomes more economic.”
Independent analysis in support of the development approval by engineering consultant GHD estimates that it will reduce the emissions intensity per tonne of flour throughput from 0.62 to 0.36t CO2.
The project is also financed by a $95M commercial debt package, which is supported by a $50M guarantee from Export Finance Australia.
In addition, Manildra Group has successfully registered the project with the Clean Energy Regulator to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units.