Boiler a South Island first for Fonterra

Fonterra director of technical excellence Chris Kane (left), acting chief operating officer Anna...
Fonterra director of technical excellence Chris Kane (left), acting chief operating officer Anna Palairet and site operating manager Morgan Watt stand beside the wood biomass boiler at the Stirling site yesterday. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN
There were celebrations in South Otago yesterday.

Dairy giant Fonterra held a formal ceremony recognising the importance of its coal-free wood biomass boiler at its site in Stirling.

The project first began in June 2019 and much of the work was completed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is the company’s first coal-free wood biomass burner in the South Island.

The installation has made the site Fonterra’s first 100% renewable thermal energy site.

The boiler has been running for about 12 months already.

It was a "significant" step towards the co-op’s goal to stop using coal by 2037.

"We are delighted to be celebrating today," Fonterra acting chief operating officer Anna Palairet said.

Additional environmental benefits of the boiler included reduction in wastewater, noise, solid waste to landfill and air discharge emissions," she said.

"Switching to wood biomass would mean the site’s annual emissions will reduce by 18,500 tonnes of CO2, which equated to taking more than 7000 cars off the road."

The installation cost $37 million and injected about $10m into the region, along with supporting an estimated 10 jobs in the wood biomass industry.

Site operating manager Morgan Watt said he was "excited" to have the first wood biomass boiler located in Stirling.

"It’s very exciting, because it is one step to future sites becoming like this.

"You never forget your first-born."

Exports from the Stirling site go to more than 10 countries including Japan and South Korea.