Cheese from trees: Fonterra running on wood biomass

31 March 2024

Fonterra’s Stirling manufacturing site is celebrating becoming the Co-op’s first manufacturing site in the South Island to get off coal and the first site to be running on 100% renewable thermal energy

Moving to wood biomass means a reduction of 18,500 tonnes of CO2 per year and the site’s electricity supply comes from hydroelectricity. This is a key move to help Fonterra achieve a 50% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 from a 2018 baseline and meet our ambition to be net zero by 2050.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer (acting) Anna Palairet says the Stirling site moving off coal is key to the Co-op reducing its emissions. “Stirling moving to wood biomass is a crucial step for the Co-op to exit coal by 2037. Our collective efforts from on farm, across our operations and our R&D teams to reduce emissions, will help future-proof Fonterra, supporting our ambition to be a long-term sustainable Co-op for generations to come.”

Stirling is known for its high-quality cheese and processes around 10,500 20kg blocks of cheese per day – that’s around 10 blocks per minute. This is a $33 million project that has had local contractors engaged over the last two years with up to 50 contractors onsite per day working to get the boiler up and running and navigating a number of challenges due to COVID-19.

There were also significant economic benefits for the community – the installation has contributed around $10 million into the Otago/Southland region – and additional environmental benefits in wastewater, noise, solid waste to landfill and air discharge.

Fonterra is proud to partner with Wood Energy who provide the wood biomass.

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Source & image credit: Fonterra