Macadamia Processing Company Limited (MPC), announced today it has secured a $1.484 million grant through the Australian Government’s Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program* to fund major energy-efficient upgrades and expansion to its factory macadamia nut drying system.
When complete in 2014 the upgrades and expansion will reduce carbon emissions from the factory’s drying system by 99.6% 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.”
“Our primary aim is to provide the highest quality macadamia kernel to our customers around the world whilst improving returns to our growers. This new drying system will work well with our plans to grow the macadamia industry in Australia in a stable and sustainable way to ensure the long term viability of the industry,” said Mr Lee.
Australian macadamia nuts enjoy a high reputation around the world and are sought after as a high-quality snack food, in confectionary products such as chocolate-coated nuts and in nut bars, in ice-cream and bakery products such as cookies, as well as in cosmetics.
MPC is owned by more than 200 Australian macadamia growers. It was set up in 1983 when the macadamia industry began to take off on the NSW North Coast and South East Queensland – the region where macadamia nut trees originate from.
MPC’s macadamia nut quality is regarded as one of the highest in the world and the company continues to actively develop new value-added products and new markets for macadamias on the global stage through its marketing company Macadamia Marketing International (MMI).
Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program
The Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program is part of the $1.2 billion Clean Technology Program, a central element of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future plan announced in July 2011.
The Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program is a competitive, merit-based grants program to support Australian food and foundry manufacturers to maintain competitiveness in a carbon constrained economy. This program will provide grants for investments in energy efficient capital equipment and low emission technologies, processes and products. Eligible applicants will need to demonstrate how the proposed project will improve energy efficiency and/or reduce carbon emissions, their ability to undertake the project, and to show how it will maintain or improve the competitiveness of their manufacturing business. The program will provide funding over a six year period from 2011-12 to 2016-17.