Biomass boilers installed at ofi’s cocoa factories

Two circular biomass boilers have now begun operation at olam food ingredients’ (ofi) cocoa processing factories based in the Netherlands and Germany, designed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

The boilers use cocoa shells, a by-product of the production process, as fuel to generate steam, which in turn powers the production of cocoa ingredients from ofi’s premium brand deZaan, at its factories in Koog aan de Zaan, Netherlands and in Mannheim, Germany. According to ofi, this will be the first cocoa shell boilers of its kind in the country.

The boiler at Koog aan de Zaan was partly funded by a subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and took over four years from concept to completion. It will reduce natural gas usage and C02 emissions at the facility by 50%.

In 2022 alone, for example, ofi used 8000 tonnes of residual cocoa shells to generate green energy equivalent to using 3.4 million cubic metres of natural gas, helping to cut absolute C02 emissions at the facility by 23%.

The second boiler in operation at the factory in Mannheim has been developed through a joint venture with energy company MVV. It has the potential to provide up to 90% of the steam needed o power the facility, saving approximately 8000 tonnes of C02 annually. The new roll-out adds to circular biomass shell boilers used in ofi cocoa factories in Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, and Singapore.

This latest step forms part of ofi’s ambition for sustainable cocoa Cocoa Compass, which sets ambitious goals or the business including a 30% reduction in natural capital costs by 2030. In 2021, ofi reduced these costs in its global cocoa processing operations by 11% per metric ton of product output from processing.

“We’re taking action to protect the planet and unlock value for our customers so that they can offer their consumers more sustainable choices. From the support we give to farmers worldwide to how we turn their cocoa into high-quality ingredients in our processing factories. These innovative boilers are key in reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions and making our Cocoa Compass ambition real,” explained Susanne Folkerts, Global Operations Head of Sustainability and Environment, ofi. “We’re also playing our part to accelerate the climate agenda of the EU Green Deal, in which moving to a more circular economy is fundamental. We’re thrilled to have been recognized by the Dutch government as a sustainability innovation leader and hope that other manufacturing businesses are inspired to invest in circular biomass as part of their decarbonisation journeys.”

“ofi has demonstrated how making the most of byproducts can lead to significant CO2 savings. By developing a biomass boiler that uses its own cocoa shells to power the production of its deZaan cocoa ingredients, it is setting an inspiring example for other industrial companies. We are therefore grateful that ofi is giving its industry peers the opportunity to follow its example,” added David van Baarle, Industrial Sustainability Specialist, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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