SOUTH AFRICA – Danone, a global leader in dairy production, has marked a significant step toward a greener future by initiating a groundbreaking project at its dairy manufacturing plant in Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

The ambitious endeavor involves the installation of a 5-megawatt (MW) combined heat and power (CHP) solution and a state-of-the-art microgrid controller.

The Boksburg plant is renowned for producing a wide range of dairy products, including popular brands like Nutriday yogurt and Ultramel custard.

This project is not only aligned with Danone’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 but also addresses the pressing need for a resilient local energy source amidst ongoing supply challenges in South Africa.

To bring this vision to life, Danone has partnered with Moshesh Cogeneration, a special-purpose vehicle owned by Moshesh Partners. Clarke Energy, a leading provider of turnkey energy solutions, has been entrusted with the task of building the CHP facility and microgrid controller.

Under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) spanning 20 years, Moshesh will own and operate the plant in collaboration with Danone.

One of the standout features of this initiative is the use of gas-fired power generation, which significantly contributes to reducing carbon emissions when compared to grid coal-fired power or diesel generation.

The CHP system will allow Danone to harness waste heat, converting it into steam and hot water, thereby further reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Additionally, given the nationwide power crisis and frequent grid failures experienced in South Africa, the microgrid solution is expected to provide a reliable power supply, ensuring maximum uptime for the 24/7 manufacturing plant.

Clarke Energy highlighted the hydrogen-ready nature of the CHP solution, which offers the flexibility to transition to hydrogen operation as soon as a sufficient supply becomes available.

The 5-MW CHP system comprises two containerized engines from Innio Group’s J616 Jenbacher, a waste heat boiler, and a 75,000-liter thermal storage unit supplied by Clarke Energy, which will supply hot water to the distribution system.

The microgrid controller systems will seamlessly integrate the CHP engines with four existing diesel gensets, a solar photovoltaic array from a third party, and the grid.

“With our frequent power supply outages, this microgrid solution will allow us to become independent from the grid, increase production uptime, and integrate various distributed energy resources, including hydrogen, all while reducing our carbon footprint,” Kid Nkantsu, Senior Director for Operations and ‘Design to Deliver’ at Danone Sub-Saharan Africa, said.

“We selected Moshesh Partners and Clarke Energy due to their track record in the region.”

Sifiso Shongwe, CEO of Moshesh Partners Fund Management, added that the project represents a significant step forward in South Africa’s renewable energy transition.

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