biogas
The SustainPower CHP unit installed at the Distell Springs plant.

Distell, a global beverage company with a wide range of award-winning brands, continues to ramp up its sustainability efforts, this time with a combined heat and power unit from SustainPower.

This article first appeared in ESI Africa Issue 1-2020.
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A combined heat and power (CHP) unit from SustainPower was installed recently at Distell’s Springs cider manufacturing operation in South Africa to convert the effluent treatment plant’s biogas by-product into power.

This is the first step to making the effluent treatment plant energy-neutral in the short-term, and energy-positive in the future – giving the cider company’s famous brands, such as Amarula, Savanna, and Hunter’s Dry, a lower carbon footprint.

SustainPower provides modular gas-to-power solutions for biogas, natural gas, and landfill gas that are housed and transported in custom-fitted shipping containers. Based in Cape Town, with clients throughout Africa, they provide sustainable, clean power to industries and commerce in the developing world.

Distell’s effluent treatment plant, which processes waste water from the beverage making process, is designed to produce up to 100m³ per hour of high-grade biogas with methane levels consistently hovering around 90%. The SustainPower SP-550-BG-CHP, which harvests the mechanical energy from the generator and the thermal energy from the combustion process, provides up to 450kW of electrical power and has 500kW of thermal energy available for use in the plant process.

Ames Martin, COO of SustainPower, says: “We designed, built, and tested the CHP unit in Cape Town before we shipped it to Distell. Because the CHP is containerised, it arrives on-site fully prepped and ready, with minimal external installation work required, reducing project risk and potential downtime.”

As a result of the SustainPower CHP installation, Distell now enjoys an average daily energy reduction of 5,500kWh, translating to a monetary saving of more than R300,000 per month, or a 6.7% overall reduction in electricity expenses for its Springs plant. The CHP unit has also brought about a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions of approximately 150 tonnes of CO2 per month.

Distell is committed to leaving a positive legacy, which means finding opportunities at each point along their value chain to do more, be better, and foster positive change. Says Daniel Melenas, Engineering Manager at Distell Springs: “It was good to see such a high-quality product being built locally. We chose SustainPower because of their local presence and high-quality design and build.

It was also impressive to see the machine produce electricity within only three days of arriving on-site.” “We’re not only focused on power generation that is sustainable, but also on a product that is sustainable and can meet the rigorous demands made on it over its lifetime. Thus, the real heart of ‘sustainable’ power generation,” says Rob Craig, Head of Product Development at SustainPower. ESI

info@sustainpower.co.za | www.sustainpower.co.za