How to Power a “Food Factory”
Feeding the world is big business. A growing population, limited space and unpredictable climate conditions are inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurial farmers to cross-pollinate technology with nature. The results are new opportunities to grow and process more food, more efficiently, in a greater variety of places. Instead of dropping seeds into holes, these future farmers are dropping food-generating enterprises practically anywhere. “Food factories” require more than sun and rain. Some use greenhouses to supercharge food growth. Others, like Jain Irrigation Systems Limited (JISL), use the bounty of nature’s waste to efficiently prepare food for safe distribution.
JISL’s fruit processing plant in Jalagon, Maharashta, India uses electricity and steam from a Jenbacher Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system to process and package different types of fruit. But fruit is more than the end product of JISL’s plant—it’s also the power source. The plant’s two Jenbacherengines run on biogas that naturally occurs from decomposing fruit waste at the plant, turning that waste into a viable power source. The biogas-powered engines that create electricity to run the plant also use exhaust steam to operate refrigeration units –two sweet byproducts from decomposing fruit.
A Healthy Diet for Performance
The waste-gas power and steam generation is building a stronger business for JISL. Operating efficiency is up 83 percent. Steam-powered refrigeration eliminated the need for HCFC/CFC refrigerants and 48,000 tons of annual CO2 emissions are out of the picture. It’s the end result of recycling organic waste into power, rather than returning it to the environment.