NATURAL GAS FOR CLEANER, MORE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION

NATURAL GAS FOR CLEANER, MORE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION

Compressed Natural Gas Holdings has continued to infiltrate the energy space. Natural gas offers an energy alternative that is environmentally friendly and more cost-effective. Household brands Tiger Brands Limited and Premier FMCG are both on two different journeys of making the conversion to natural gas.

“Our last plant converted boiler from coal to gas, was Albany Germiston,” begins National process and Capability Engineer of Tiger Brands Derik Bouwer. Natural gas was used on the boiler installation at one of the Tiger Brands plants.

The use of gas in the packaged goods factories has come with positive changes such as cleaner energy use and competitive pricing, according to Bouwer. This lies in counterpoint to the use of coal which is well known for extensive greenhouse gas emissions and excessive waste where Tiger Brands is concerned. 

Kobus Schmidt has been the Manufacturing Executive for Bakeries, for the past 7 years at Premier FMCG. Schmidt expressed that Premier has never used coal at their plants.

“We have used paraffin as an energy heating source in the past. We are wip [work in progress] to convert one pilot plant from polyfuel to natural gas,” Schmidt continued.

Schmidt expanded that since they are in the process of converting their first plant to natural gas at Premier, they are not able to comment specifically on the difference between the different forms of fuel with relation to their plant. The gas will be used to power plant baking ovens and steam boilers.

“Burners are being replaced with gas burners. Storage of gas is in Tube trucks and not in onsite tanks or stagnant storage facilities,” explained Schmidt.

“It is cheaper though but there is a fair amount of capital necessary to fund the conversion. An additional pricing factor is also based on increased calorific and combustion efficiencies still not proven because the conversion is not completed,” continued Schmidt.

Bouwer explained that for Tiger Brands, the switch from coal to natural gas was prompted by the fact of the environment. Natural gas is more “environmentally friendly” and emits less carbon. Schmidt adds that for Premier FMCG, the use of natural gas is more efficient.

Apart from being conscious of the negative effect other forms of fuel have on the environment, natural gas is “more efficient and should increase the lifespan of combustion and baking equipment” concluded Schmidt.

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