General Mills uses biogas to help meet renewable power goal

By Erin Voegele | April 28, 2020

General Mills announced on April 23 it has set a goal for 100 percent renewable electricity as part of the RE100 global corporate initiative. Biogas projects in North America, South American and Europe are helping the company reach that goal.

General Mills said several biogas projects are already underway. In North America, the company has a 1.6 megawatt (MW) generator fueled by an anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee. Self-renewing bacteria in the biodigester convert plant process wastewater from its yogurt and dough production into biogas. Power and heat from the generator are fed directly back into the yogurt processing facility to reduce its annual grid power and natural gas purchases by up to 20 percent.

In South America, General Mills has a 195 kilowatt (kW) capacity biogas regeneration plant at its Paranavai Yoki location. The plant is one of the largest manufacturing plants in Brazil where electric power is produced from biogas renerated by the site’s wastewater treatment system. The power is used by the plant with any excess sent to the local electric utility, reducing the company’s power spend by 30 percent.

In Europe, General Mills has a 195 kW capacity biogas regeneration plant at its Arras, France Häagen-Dazs production facility. The plant uses electric power produced from generators that are fueled by renewable biogas from the site’s process wastewater treatment system. When the plant doesn’t use it, the power generated from the biogas is sold to the local utility grid, while heat in the form of hot water is recovered to reduce natural gas consumption at the ice cream plant.

General Mills is also using wind energy to help meet its goal for 100 percent renewable electricity.

“Signing on to a movement like RE100 extends our commitment to renewable electricity globally, across our supply chain,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer at General Mills. “We know we’re able to drive more widespread action and impact when we make bold commitments. And we’re proud to be among those corporations that are taking the initiative to use scale for good because together, we can secure more measurable and meaningful results.”  

Additional information is available on the General Mills website.