Decarbonisation industry milestone reached in Timaru

Climate Change Energy and Resources

A pioneering boiler conversion project is now up and ready to go, using woodchips to make potato chips, while slashing emissions.

“McCain’s newly converted coal boiler will reduce CO2 emissions at its Timaru factory by 95% and is an excellent example of the great climate gains we can achieve through new and innovative technology,” says Energy and Resources Minister, Megan Woods.

“By converting their coal boiler to burn domestically sourced woodchips, made possible by Government co-funding, McCain will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 30,000 tonnes per year, that’s equates to taking 11,000 cars off the road,“ Megan Woods said.

McCain’s $5.6 million conversion project received $2,876,500 of contestable funding from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund (GIDI).

“Thanks to our prudent management of the economy we are able to back businesses to break free from outdated ‘business as usual thinking’, and provide opportunities for them to remain competitive under multiple potential climate futures while also curbing emissions.

“It’s great to see GIDI projects up and running. It really illustrates how Government and industry can work together to accelerate our move away from expensive and dirty fossil fuels. Our energy and industry sectors make up 27 percent of our total emissions.  We must keep decarbonising as fast as we can so we can keep up with the direction the world is moving in,” said Megan Woods.

Alongside this conversion McCain Timaru has also implemented a heat recovery system, using mechanical vapour recompression, to reduce steam demand – a first for this industry in New Zealand. The technology recovers waste heat from the fryer for use elsewhere in the facility and will reduce total energy consumption and fuel use by more than 37,000 GJ/year, which is roughly equivalent to the electricity used by 1400 households.

“These types of projects show that by prioritising demand reduction and energy efficiency you can make fuel switching easier. These are lessons that can be shared with, and replicated by, many other businesses to further help reduce our overall carbon footprint,” Megan Woods said.

Climate Minister James Shaw says projects like this one are a core part of the Emissions Reduction Plan and an important milestone on the journey to net-zero.

“With our climate response, we are building an Aotearoa that is cleaner, safer and much more productive than it is today. Meeting our emissions goals is going to take action and changes across every sector of the economy. This kind of project – converting large-scale industrial processed to clean energy alternatives – is a great example of what can be done when Government partners with industry to make big things happen quicker.

“Having recently returned from COP27 in Egypt, my focus is now squarely on domestic action to cut emissions and limit warming. Global progress on climate is frustratingly slow, but announcements like this one show what is possible, what we can actually do in the here and now – and that is tremendously heartening,” said James Shaw.

The current GIDI funding round runs 10 November 2022 - 2 March 2023 with application forms on EECA’s website. To learn more about who is eligible visit: EECA Industry Decarbonisation  

Note to Editors

  • The Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund is administered by EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) and focusses on investing in, and promoting, cleaner industrial processes and process heat. This is achieved through energy efficiency, applying new and innovative technologies, and fuel switching.
  • Over the first three rounds, $69m of GIDI funding has been allocated – across 53 major industrial decarbonisation projects, with recipients contributing $117m of their own money. As a result of these 53 projects an anticipated annual carbon abatement of 364,127 t of CO2, and a lifetime carbon abatement of 7.46Mt of CO2, will be realised.
  • Round four of the expanded GIDI fund recipients will be announced from December and round five opened on 10 November and closes 2 March 2023.
  • GIDI recipients are selected for their ability to demonstrate high value for money, a detailed broader carbon reduction plan, and the ability to complete the project within the specified timeframe.
  • Recipients across all rounds come from sectors including dairy processing, construction, metal manufacturing, indoor covered cropping, meat and seafood processing and textile, and leather manufacturing.
  • To help meet the targets in the Emissions Reduction Plan (May 2022), the Government announced expanded funding of around $650 million for the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry fund (GIDI), coming from the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF).