U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
Food and Paper Industries Pursue Energy Savings
June 8, 2005
With energy costs near record highs, it's no surprise that a number of
industries are trying to find ways to cut their energy use and draw on
renewable sources of energy. What may be surprising is the number of
ways that industries tackle that challenge.
In the food processing industry, the current focus seems to be on new
energy sources and using energy more efficiently. Ocean Spray's plant
in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, is preparing to use methane gas from a
nearby landfill to fuel its boilers. Ocean Spray and Onyx Cranberry
Creek Landfill have agreed to build a one-mile-long pipeline to supply
the landfill gas to the facility, cutting Ocean Spray's fuel costs by
25 percent. The new system should be ready by fall, in time for the
cranberry crop. Meanwhile, Energy and Power Solutions, Inc. is
preparing to build three large cogeneration plants at dairy food
processing facilities in southern California and Massachusetts. With
financing from New Energy Capital Corporation, each project will be
fired with natural gas and will produce two megawatts of power while
providing heat for food processing. See the press releases from
and Energy and Power Solutions (PDF 32 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
For the paper industry, DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
(LBNL) thinks there's a simple answer: producing the right thickness
of paper. Currently, paper mills produce 15- to 30-ton rolls of paper
at a time, and if a roll fails to meet specifications, the entire roll
is recycled or sold as inferior grade. To avoid that paper loss, LBNL
designed and built an innovative ultrasonic laser sensor to measure
paper's bending stiffness and shear strength as it speeds through the
mill. The sensor recently proved its ability in a two-week test at a
Boise Cascade mill. According to LBNL, the new sensor could reduce the
consumption of trees and chemicals and save U.S. paper mills about
$200 million in energy costs and $330 million in fiber costs each
year. See the LBNL press release.
The paper industry is part of the forest products industry, one of
eight energy-intensive industries that DOE's Industrial Technologies
Program is focusing on through its Industries of the Future effort.
See the Forest Products Industry of the Future Web page.