Citrus Farm Replaces Coal with Biomass

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    A South African citrus farm and fruit juice producer switches from fossil fuel to climate-friendly biomass for steam and heat production.

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    The citrus farm cultivates oranges, grapefruits and bananas on an area of around 1,800 hectares.

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    There is still a lot of manual work at the farm. The oranges are being harvested without machines.

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    Each year 120,000 tonnes of fruits are being processed.

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    Prior to the project, the citrus processor in Limpopo consumed coal to dry orange peels, releasing climate-damaging emissions.

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    Switch from coal to biomass: The Limpopo region is home to a large number of sawmills accumulating huge quantities of sawdust.

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    The sawdust is being stored in silos, from where it is transported over flat conveyers to the furnace for heat production to dry the peels.

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    The dried peels are sold as valuable cattle feed supplements and as fertiliser.

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    The project creates temporary and permanent jobs.

A South African citrus farm and fruit juice producer switches from fossil fuel to climate-friendly biomass for heat production. Thereby this project reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes use of a so far untapped local renewable energy resource.

1.66 t CO2 avoided per tonne of fruit peels dried
1.66
t CO2 avoided per tonne of fruit peels dried
4 permanent jobs
4
permanent jobs
2,880 tonnes of coal avoided
2,880
tonnes of coal avoided

Prior to the project, the citrus processor in Limpopo, South Africa, consumed coal to meet its thermal energy needs to dry fruit peels. Dried peels are a valuable side product and can be used as animal feed or fertiliser. The project has converted the kilns that provide the air to dry the peel in 2011. Since then, sawdust and wood chips are being used for this process.

Coal needs to be transported from long distances to the plant. But there is a better and local solution for thermal energy production than fossil fuel sourced from far away. The Limpopo region is home to a large number of sawmills processing wood from local forests and thereby accumulating huge quantities of sawdust and waste wood. This biomass waste is a so far untapped resource but readily available within a radius of 50 kilometres to the citrus farm. 

Additionally to the reduction of CO2, the project creates temporary and permanent jobs. A part of the money from the carbon finance will be donated to a worker’s trust, which will support for example the education of workers and their children trough scholarships or improvement of their housing on the farm. 

IMPACTS AND BENEFITS ACHIEVED:

  • 11,800 tons of sawdust have been burnt yet for drying 4,600 tonnes of fruit peels. 
  • Thus, 2,880 tonnes of coal have been avoided.
  • For drying one tonne of peels 1.66 tCO2 or 625 kg of coal are being avoided. 
  • The project created four permanent jobs.
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