IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change Mitigation opportunities

The most important mitigation opportunities to reduce food industry GHG emissions in the near- and medium-term include technology and processes related to good housekeeping and improved management, improvements in both cross-cutting systems (e.g., boilers, steam and hot water distribution, pumps, compressors and fans) and process-specific technologies, improved process controls, more efficient process designs and process integration (Galitsky et al., 2001), cogeneration to produce electricity for own use and export (Cornland, 2001), and anaerobic digestion of residues to produce biogas for electricity generation and/or process steam (Yeoh, 2004). These technologies were discussed in Section 7.3, but some specific food industry applications are presented below.

In Brazil, electricity sales to the grid from bagasse cogene-ration reached 1.6 TWh in 2005 from an installed capacity of 400 MW. This capacity is expected to increase to 1000 MW with implementation of a government-induced voluntary industry programme (Moreira, 2006). In India, the sugar industry has diversified into cogeneration of power and production of fuel ethanol. Cogeneration began in 1993–1994, and as of 2004 reached 680 MW. Full industry potential is estimated at 3500 MW. In 2001, India instituted a mixed fuel programme requiring use of a 5% ethanol blend, which will create an annual demand for 500 M litres of ethanol (Balasubramaniam, 2005).

Application of traditional boilers with improved combustion and CEST (Condensing Extraction Steam Turbines) in the southern African sugar industry could produce surpluses of 135 MW for irrigation purposes and 1620 MW for export to the national grid (Yamba and Matsika, 2003) in 2010. Sims (2002) found that if all 31 of Australia’s existing sugar mills were converted to CEST technology, they could generate 20 TWh/yr of electricity and reduce emissions by 16 MtCO2/yr (4.4 MtC/yr), assuming they replaced coal-fired electricity generation. Gasifying the biomass and using it in combined cycle gas turbine could double the CO2 savings (Cornland, 2001). Proposed CDM projects in the Malaysian palm oil industry (UNDP, 2002), and the Thai starch industry (Cohen, 2001) demonstrated that use of advanced anaerobic methane reactors to produce electricity would yield a GHG emission reduction of 56 to 325 ktCO2-eq/yr (15 to 90 MtC-eq/yr). Application of improved energy management practices in the coconut industry (Kumar et al., 2003) and bakery industry (Kannan and Boy, 2003) showed significant saving of 40 to 60 % in energy consumption for the former and a modest saving of 6.5% for the latter. In the long term, use of residue biomass generated from the food industry in state-of-the-art Biomass Integrated Gasifier Combined Cycle (BIG/CC) technologies, could double electricity generation and GHG savings compared to CEST technology (Yamba and Matsika, 2003; Cornland et al., 2001).

Virtually all countries have environmental regulations of varied stringency, which require installations including the food industry to limit final effluent BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) in the waste water before discharge into waterways. Such measures are compelling industries to use more efficient waste water treatment systems. The recently introduced EU-directive requiring Best Available Techniques (BAT) as a condition for environmental permits in the fruit and vegetable processing industry (Dersden et al., 2002) will compel EU industry in this sector to introduce improved waste water purification processes thereby reducing fugitive emissions due to anaerobic reactions.