Biogas supply to FrieslandCampina’s plant in Borculo

Milk and cheese

With annual revenue of 11.3 billion euro, FrieslandCampina is one of the world’s largest dairy companies. Since 7 February 2017, the Dutch company has made use of biogas in its plant in Borculo (Netherlands) for generating steam used for the production of milk powder and ingredients for infant nutrition. For this, the dairy company has entered into a joint venture agreement with Groot Zevert Vergisting (GZV) from Beltrum in the Dutch province of Gelderland. FrieslandCampina will buy 8 million m3 biogas from GZV annually. This will reduce the CO2 emission by about 8,000 tonnes on an annual basis.

“Our plant in Borculo already was the first to switch to sustainable pyrolysis oil with a very low direct CO2 emission. Now we take the next step by being the first to invest in generating steam with biogas produced with the manure coming from, among others, the farms of our member dairy farmers. We supply the biogas by means of a one-to-one transport line which runs from GZV in Beltrum to the plant in Borculo. This is an important step for making the chain more sustainable and for closing the cycles”, said Roelof Joosten, CEO of FrieslandCampina.

This is an important step for making the chain more sustainable and for closing the cycles

Groot Zevert Vergisting has worked with a bio-fermentation system that produces green power from regional manure since the year 2004. “Also thanks to the financing from the “Innovatie- en Energiefonds Gelderland” [Innovation and Energy Fund Gelderland] – Owner Joris Groot Zevert stated – we were able to reconstruct and expand our bio-fermentation system, which enabled us to enter into this unique joint venture with FrieslandCampina.” The manure comes from, among others, the farms of member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina in this region. The manure processed at GZV contributes to enabling the dairy farmers to comply with their obligations with respect to phosphate reduction and processing.

Joulz (formerly Stedin Infradiensten) is responsible for the transport of the biogas from GZV to FrieslandCampina. Joulz has made investments in this pipeline and will exploit it for the long term. Besides wind and solar energy, the production of biogas by means of bio-fermentation is another way to generate sustainable, green energy. By generating sustainable energy the emission of greenhouse gases is reduced. With this step FrieslandCampina and Groot Zevert Vergisting make a contribution to a more sustainable dairy chain.

The Dutch company wants to use 100 percent sustainable energy from renewable sources, such as wind, sun and biomass, and generate as much as possible of this at the farms of the member dairy farmers in 2020. In 2015, 65 percent of all electricity used by the FrieslandCampina production locations was sustainable thanks to the purchasing of Guarantees of Origin for Sustainable Electricity. These guarantee that the electricity volume has been generated by wind, co-fermentation of biomass, manure fermentation or solar energy. This is an increase by 14 percent compared to 2014. In 2015, the member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina supplied 56 percent of the green electricity used globally by the company through the Guarantees of Origin for Sustainable Electricity.

FrieslandCampina introduced a new biobased drink carton into the market in 2015. For the production of the cap and the coating certified polyethylene, made from organic residual material, is purchased. The cardboard of the carton with the biobased coating was already renewable. The carbon footprint of this biobased milk carton is 20 percent lower than that of the old carton.


by Lara M. Moreno


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