Fonterra launches a unique hybrid emissions reduction solution in Palmerston North


We have recently commissioned our first high temperature heat pump and solar thermal plant combination at the Fonterra Brands New Zealand Palmerston North manufacturing site, where much of the fresh white milk for the North Island is produced.

The heat pump converts excess heat from chillers and compressors into a heat source. This reduces the natural gas required by the site and is expected to remove 495 tonnes CO2e annually – the equivalent of taking 140 cars off the road.

This marks the fourth site within a year to upgrade energy infrastructure to help Fonterra reach its scope 1 and 2 target of 50% emissions reduction by 2030 (from a 2018 baseline).

Fonterra Palmerston North Site Manager Graham Thomson says, “We’re really excited about this unique combination of a commercial heat pump and solar thermal plant helping us reduce our gas consumption and emissions output.”

The project received co-funding from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority’s Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) fund and will help inform future decarbonisation projects at Fonterra.

Further information on Fonterra’s decarbonisation efforts:

  • We expect to reduce our emissions further through a combination of energy efficiency initiatives and switching fuels at our 6 manufacturing sites that still use coal and ultimately stop using coal by 2037.
  • We’re in the process of converting the coal boilers at the Hautapu site to wood pellets. Once complete this year the Hautapu site will reduce our carbon emissions by a forecast 15,785 tonnes per annum - the equivalent of taking about 6,500 cars off New Zealand’s roads.
  • The Stirling wood biomass boiler has been commissioned, moving the site to fully renewable thermal energy for its process heat. Changing to this boiler will reduce the annual carbon emissions by 18,500 tonnes – the equivalent of taking approximately 7,700 cars off New Zealand’s roads.
  • The new Waitoa wood biomass boiler is now operational and will reduce the site’s annual carbon emissions by approximately 48,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking approximately 20,000 cars off New Zealand’s roads. 
  • For more information, click here.