Smallgoods processing facility to use co-generation

One of Australia’s largest food manufacturers, George Weston Foods (GWF), will design and build an energy-efficient co-generation plant at its smallgoods processing facility in Castlemaine, Victoria.

The turn-key cogeneration plant will provide electrical and thermal energy for the GWF site which is undergoing expansion and will be the largest facility of its type in the southern hemisphere. Peak power demand will be eight megawatts.

The high-efficiency cogeneration power system comprises two Cummins QSV91G lean-burn natural gas generator sets which will provide four megawatts of electrical power, while heat recovered from the engines’ exhausts will be directed to two high-rate steam generators.

These steam generators will provide thermal power for various operations at the GWF facility, including refrigeration and heating.

“The co-generation plant will operate in parallel with the grid and ensure that a minimum quantity of grid power is consumed at all times,” Cummins Power Generation’s energy solutions business development manager, David Eccleston said.

“It will also be able to operate in island mode if there’s a loss of grid power.”

GWF, a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading food companies, Associated British Foods, produces well known brands such as Don Smallgoods, KR Castlemaine, Tip Top, Sunblest and Golden in Australia and New Zealand.

“The co-generation system will also take George Weston Foods’ environmental commitment a step further by reducing CO2 emissions,” Mr Eccleston said.

The plant will be able to be operated continuously, or shut down and restarted daily. The lean-burn technology of the 91 litre, V18 Cummins natural gas engines powering the electrical gensets provides very low exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxides.

“A food manufacturing facility obviously demands high standards of power system reliability and cost efficiency, and the Cummins co-generation system has proved in applications around the world it will meet those standards,” Mr Eccleston said.

Construction of the co-generation plant began in late 2009, with hand over to GWF in April 2010.