Giant step for the environment and profitability as Asia-Pacific food processor transforms waste water into green energy

Indonesia's PT Great Giant Pineapple company

One of the world’s largest pineapple producers has transformed its waste water into a source of profit by using advanced anaerobic technology from Global Water Engineering to extract green energy from a biological waste stream.

Indonesia’s PT Great Giant Pineapple company – the world’s third largest producer of pineapples, supplying 15 per cent of global demand – now produces more than 30,000 Nm3 of methane biogas a day to supplement and replace fuel oil and coal used in its boilers.

And in addition to exceeding its design performance for biogas production, the tapioca starch and pineapple canning plant has also far exceeded its design performance for COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) removal efficiency, achieving 98 per cent removal.

The company – which prides itself on its logo “Go Green and More Organic” – has achieving some of the world’s best environmental outcomes while also saving money, says Global Water Engineering Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mr Jean Paul Ombregt.

“In addition to outstanding waste removal from process water (results proven over more than a year since the plant was commissioned) they have also spared themselves the cost and need to burn many more tons of fuel oil and coal.  As petroleum climbs beyond $US100 a barrel – and could easily spike way above this – the Great Giant Pineapple company is setting an example of world significance in terms of cleanliness, conservation and waste management.

“The example is very important to industry worldwide because the concept of using wastewater to create green energy is much more widely applicable than often realized.  Any factory with a biological waste stream or wastewater with high organic content can easily use this model to generate energy,” says Mr Ombregt, who has more than 35 years experience in waste water and green energy projects and more than 300 successfully completed projects in more than 60 countries. GWE is one of the world market leaders for anaerobic industrial wastewater treatment and for the transition of biosolids into green energy, with a mission to be an ambassador for anaerobic wastewater treatment and to gain credibility for the technology by delivering quality installations that meet or exceed their performance guarantees

Process employed

The GWE plant at PT Great Giant Pineapple in Lampung Indonesia has passed all the guaranteed process performance requirements. Its  Process Acceptance Certificate also says that the plant – designed, engineered, constructed and commissioned by GWE – manages and treats correctly without any problems, all the effluence coming from the pineapple canning factory and the tapioca starch factory.

The process employed in Lampung comprises equalization basin, screening, primary clarifier, pH control, ANUBIX™B (UASB) 4894 m3 methane reactors, biogas safety flare, biogas blowers, biogas use in two thermal oil boilers and one coal-fired fluidized bed type steam boiler.

Table showing the Process Acceptance Certificate

Mr Ombregt says the results are particularly significant because of the scale of operations of the Great Giant Pineapple company, which exports to more than 50 countries.

“The results demonstrate practical and attainable environmental and cost benefits on a very broad scale,” he says. “Some companies investing in GWE anaerobic technologies have achieved payback within a year. Most typically achieve it within two years. Industry globally needs to be aware of the potential, so they can do a big service both to themselves and to the environment.”