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Red Stripe to boost energy efficiency

Published:Monday | February 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Cedric Blair, managing director, Red Stripe. - Contributed

Barbara Ellington, Corporate Affairs Editor

After months of planning and high anticipation, Jamaica's brewing giant, Red Stripe, is further consolidating plans to being more energy efficient through the installation of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant. The company, which currently racks up a monthly electricity bill in six figures, is planning to reap tremendous benefits from this new addition.

The tri-generation plant arrived in the island on February 3 and was transported to the brewery where it is being installed. The entire project from start to completion, costs US$7,700,000.

In an email interview with The Gleaner, Managing Director Cedric Blair said the newly-acquired plant is part of the company's plan to reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact through a 50 per cent cutback of 2007 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2016.

Modular in design and the first of its kind in Jamaica, this CHP plant will provide electrical power, steam and chilled water to the brewery.

cogeneration

CHP, also known as cogeneration, simultaneously produces electricity and useful steam or hot water from a single heat source. The plant, designed by Caterpillar, will generate electricity from a reciprocating engine. At the outset, the fuel to be used will be liquid propane. However, these dual-fuel engines are designed for future conversion to liquid natural gas.

By recovering and using heat typically wasted by the conventional production of electricity, the CHP plant will offer considerable environmental benefits when compared to purchased electricity. By capturing and utilising heat that would otherwise be wasted from the production of electricity, the CHP system requires less fuel than equivalent separate heat and power systems to produce the same amount of energy. Because less fuel is combusted, greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, are reduced.

"Combined heat and power is a highly efficient way to produce energy and the technology is both proven and very reliable in achieving significant costs saving, environment benefits, enhanced energy security and overall efficiency in excess of 80 per cent. We are leading by example and using this technology to help reduce our carbon emissions and improve operating efficiency which we anticipate will be much higher than the efficiency of conventional production of electricity," said Blair in response to The Gleaner's question regarding what the CHP system will mean to Red Stripe in the long run.

"At times of economic downturn, it is tempting to diminish attention to environmental values, but as a good corporate citizen, Red Stripe remains committed to minimising our energy emissions in service of the preservation of our environment, while also achieving optimised energy economics at the same time," added Blair.

He added: This project is the outcome of several teams working together, internationally and locally, to provide a unique solution to Red Stripe's utilities reduction efforts. The plant itself is a true example of first-class engineering capabilities and will provide the Jamaica manufacturing sector options on self-generation of electricity."