As we build new capacity, we use this opportunity to invest in improving the resource efficiency of our sites. Last year we invested in the expansion of our Lichfield site with a new milk powder dryer, distribution centre and wastewater treatment plant.
The new 30 tonne an hour dryer is fuelled by natural gas. It is Fonterra’s most efficient milk dryer to date.
The dryer is capable of processing 4.4 million litres of milk each day, making it the largest milk powder dryer in the world alongside the dryer at Fonterra’s site at Darfield in Canterbury, New Zealand.
As the milk is heated and dried, water is evaporated from it. Rather than allow this to escape as steam, the site collects and condenses it back into water which is then filtered and reused in other processes. This means the site needs less water in and produces less wastewater out. Because of this, the site produces more water than it takes in.
The site expansion also included investment in a new biological wastewater treatment plant. This uses natural processes to reduce the nutrient levels in wastewater. This brings the site up to the leading industry standards we have committed to bringing all sites inline with by 2026.
Wastewater is irrigated to neighbouring ‘nutrient management’ farms, which are owned and managed by Fonterra. The wastewater plant can store 100 million litres of water if for some reason irrigation is not feasible.
Investment was also made in logistics efficiency, to cope with additional manufacturing volumes. The new distribution centre has the capacity to store 40,000 metric tonnes of whole milk powder which is then loaded into containers and shipped directly to the port via an in-built rail siding. This removes up to 40 truck movements from the site every day, which eliminates traffic from local roads and reduces transport emissions.