A $1.484m government grant will help Macadamia Processing Company Limited (MPC) fund energy efficient upgrades and expansions to its macadamia nut drying system.
The grant is part of the federal government's Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program, which provides funds for investments in energy efficient capital equipment and low emission technologies, processes and products.
When completed in 2014, Macadamia Processing Company Limited's upgrades and expansion will reduce carbon emissions from the factory’s drying system by 99.6 percent and save an estimated $810,000 through reduced energy consumption and the reduced need for off-site storage of nuts during the busy harvest season.
MPC general manager, Steven Lee, said "The AusIndustry grant helps us achieve a significant reduction in our energy and storage costs which will allow us to return more money to our growers. By using energy efficient systems we are helping to drive an environmentally sustainable macadamia industry."
The upgrade has already started with modifications being made to the existing final stage drying room, where the nuts are dried down in preparation for cracking. This will be followed by the construction of a new energy-efficient drying building with capacity to store and dry 1,500t of macadamia nuts. When complete it will be the largest facility of its type for macadamias in the world.
"Both rooms will be insulated to prevent heat loss and computer controlled to ensure optimized drying without energy wastage. We will also install a hot water boiler that is fuelled by macadamia shells – a renewable fuel source that will replace the existing LPG system and further reduce MPC’s drying costs," Lee said.
MPC is owned by more than 200 Australian macadamia growers.
Other food manufacturers which have received a grant from the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program are Teys Meatworks, Robern Menz, Arnott's, Fonterra, De Bortoli and Barrossa Vintner.