Frito-Lay Casa Grande Plant Nears Net-Zero

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division in October declared its Casa Grande, Ariz., facility has reached "near net zero," meaning it’s run primarily on renewable energy sources and recycled water while producing nearly zero landfill waste.

"As a company that relies on key natural resources like water and fuel, Frito-Lay has developed strategies to ensure our business remains sustainable, even if there are constraints on those resources," said Al Carey, who was CEO and president of Frito-Lay North America, but a month ago was named CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages.

The actual results, as reported by Pepsico:

  • 67 percent of its energy is generated by renewable sources.
  • 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • 75 percent of water is recycled.
  • 80 percent reduction of natural gas usage.

A combination of technologies were employed by the Casa Grande plant:

  • Water Reduction: The Casa Grande facility installed a water recovery and reuse system that combines membrane bioreactor and low-pressure reverse osmosis technologies to recycle from 50-75 percent of water. The recycled process water meets EPA primary and secondary drinking water standards.
  • Electricity Reduction: Five distinct solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed throughout the property produce nearly 10 million KWHs of electrical power. Two solar fields of single axis tracking PV systems with more than 18,000 solar panels were installed on 36 acres of the facility's agriculture property. The three additional PV fields installed by the plant include a dual axis tracking system, a single axis covered parking lot and 10 sterling engine dual axis tracking systems.
  • Natural Gas Reduction: The newly installed 60,000 lb./hr. biomass boiler, which uses wood and agricultural waste as its combustion energy source, will produce all the steam needed for the manufacturing plant and will reduce natural gas usage by more than 80 percent.
  • Zero Landfill: As of 2010, the Casa Grande facility sends less than 1 percent of its overall waste to landfill through extensive recycling and using food waste for cattle feed.

During the course of implementation, the Casa Grande facility became the first existing food manufacturing site to achieve LEED Existing Building Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009.

"Frito-Lay set out to create an environmental learning lab in our Casa Grande plant that would try to make the plant 'near net zero,'" said Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability for Frito-Lay North America.

Frito-Lay will leverage key learnings from the Casa Grande plant and apply them to other facilities where appropriate. Company officials say every Frito-Lay plant is identifying projects and approaches to get closer to "near net zero" and to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.

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