Campbell Facility to Be Powered by Its Own Organic Waste

Ohio has been making headlines as the pivotal swing state in the Presidential election, overshadowing a groundbreaking clean-tech partnership announced in the Buckeye State this week.

Campbell and CH4 Biogas have closed a deal to create Ohio's first commercial biogas power plant. Incredibly, the plant will generate renewable electricity out of waste from Campbell's soup, sauce and beverage production facility in Napoleon, Ohio. The plant will then channel energy back to the Napoleon facility.

In short, Campbell's factory will be powered, at least partially, by waste from its own soup.

The biogas technology will improve the facility's recycling rate to about 95 percent, said David Stangis, Campbell's Vice President of Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility. "The use of biogas energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of electricity in this facility by approximately 16,000 metric tons per year, or the equivalent of 3,000 cars," he added.

The power plant employs an "anaerobic digester" that processes organic material from the Campbell facility as well as local food processors, waste recyclers and dairy farms. The organic material is converted to methane gas, fueling turbines that will produce energy for Campbell's beverage production and offset fossil fuel use by 25 percent.

Construction for the $10 million biogas power plant, Napoleon Biogas, is underway and should be completed by mid-2013. The plant will be located on more than seven acres of land directly across the street from the Campbell facility.

CH4 Biogas, based in Atlantic Beach, Fla., designed the plant and will own and operate the seven-acre facility. Campbell signed an agreement with CH4 to purchase 100 percent of the electricity the plant produces for the next 15 years.

"CH4 is proud to partner with Campbell to bring Ohio its first commercial biogas-based renewable energy facility," said Lauren Toretta, Vice President at CH4. "The conversion of waste to energy brings broad reaching benefits to the region and is a progressive step towards sustainable renewable energy solutions."

Forty percent of the organic waste processed will come from Campbell, allowing local industry and farming operations to send an additional 270 tons of mixed waste to Napoleon Biogas daily. The biogas plant is located next to a 9.8 MW solar power plant built for Campbell in 2011. The solar plant already powers 15 percent of Campbell's Napoleon facility.

Campbell will also derive financial benefit from the facility. The company said it expects to save around $4 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.

"We have a long-standing commitment to social responsibility, to help deliver both sustainability and business results," said Carla Burigatto, Director of Corporate External Communications for Campbell. "As a company, we are looking to cut our environmental footprint in half,"

Campbell, a member of the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, has set a goal of sourcing 40 percent of the energy it uses from renewable or alternative energy sources by 2020. The company has also built or is building renewable energy systems at facilities in Sacramento, Calif., Paris, Texas, and Puurs, Belgium.

Image credit: Antonio Bonanno