Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing site in Albany, Georgia, one of the biggest facilities in its system, will soon be fueled by wood scraps and peanut shells, thanks to a biomass renewable energy plant now under construction.
The $200m 50-megawatt steam producing plant is being built by energy firm Constellation and will be one of the largest such operations in the U.S. when completed in June 2017.
P&G already had a small onsite biomass boiler that provided about 30% of its energy needs. This new plant will supply 100% of its steam and 60% to 70% of the total energy needed to run the site which produces Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet tissue for global consumption. The company still needs to use some natural gas to run high temperature heating functions which steam is unable to do.
P&G said this takes it a step closer to meeting its corporate goal of obtaining 30% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“At P&G, we are committed to improving the environmental sustainability of our products across all aspects of their life cycle – from manufacturing, packaging, delivery and consumer use,” said Martin Riant, P&G executive sponsor of sustainability and group president, global baby and feminine and family care. “As this project enables us to operate one of our largest global plants with a renewable energy source, it will reduce the environmental footprint of two leading brands. We see this as a win for our business, consumers, partners and the environment.”
Constellation will own and operate the plant and sell the steam to P&G. The plant is being built on P&G property and when completed the existing smaller biomass boiler will be decommissioned. Excess energy will be sold to local energy supplier Georgia Power.
&G and Constellation have established procurement standards for the fuel supply, which must be biomass material that would have otherwise been left to decay, burn or sent to landfills. Acceptable fuels include discarded tree tops, limbs and branches and scrap wood from forestry operations, as well as crop residuals such as pecan shells (a crop for which Georgia is known) and saw dust from mill waste.
The standards complement P&G’s fiber procurement policy for its tissue, towel and absorbent hygiene businesses. A third party environment firm determined there is sufficient local waste material available to fuel the plant.
Meanwhile, P&G is moving forward with its iMFLUX business, a wholly-owned subsidiary in West Chester Township, Ohio, that is researching and developing a new greener plastic package.
First revealed last fall, the process is said to reduce resin usage and energy consumption. A spokeswoman for P&G had no comment.