The food processing industry, in general, generates excessive amount of waste. Food waste, in many cases, ends up in landfill sites or gets dumped in vacant grounds. This bio-degradable is also being used effectively to produce bio-fuels and the Pepsico Fritolay unit at Pune is today generating biogas to run its Kurkure chips line! A Report
Big and small potatoes bathing below water jet sprays, tumbled and lurched ahead on the conveyor belt, inching closer and closer to be processed into potato chips and be branded Lays! But not all potatoes make it to the brand, as the not so good ones and the badly shaped ones get picked out of the belt and tossed down into the gutter, which carries rejects to the waste processing plant.
The sliced potatoes again get sorted and the not-so-neatly shaped ones are automatically dropped into a bin below the belt. A pile of shapely slices again make their way to the waste processing plant.
The Pepsico plant in Pune on an average generates about 18MT of waste per day. The waste consists of potato rejects, peels, slices, process waste and wastewater sludge.
– Shivshankar Tekale with Indra Nooyi
CEO of PepsiCo
“The most common way of food waste disposal is vermi-composting and to handle waste to the volume of 18MT per day, we would need approximately three acres of land,” said Shivshankar……
“We took up the challenge at the Pune plant to overcome the issue of waste disposal by converting food waste into a sustainable solution for the organization, society and environment,” said Shivshankar, the man who has been instrumental in the successful production of biogas at the Pepsico, Pune.
In the initial stage, a Pilot plant was installed to understand the process, its controls and variations and also to identify the potential of biogas production. After six months, after rigorous trials, the process and design of the full scale plant was finalized.
“This way we could reduce waste by 80% the rest 20% could be biologically digested. Generated Biogas could be used in Kurkure fryer by having a purification process and modifying the burners; thereby replacing fossil fuel LPG.
“Earlier, Slicer fines were filled in trolleys and were disposed off outside the factory in tractor trolleys. This required manpower and there was a continuous movement of trolleys in the shopfloor.
“Hence, an automatic on line feeding system was developed. This is first-of-its-kind initiative in PepsiCo where slicer fines are conveyed through screw conveyor crushed and then transferred through pump to the biogas digester. This not only saved manpower but also improved hygiene conditions inside plant.
“The biogas after purification is used directly on one Kurkure Fryer, thus saving 140MT of LPG and approximately cost of $140 million per annum.
“Currently, we have achieved 65% reduction in waste and 390 tons/year reduction in greenhouse gas.”