Additional Environmental Metrics
In 2020, as a part of our Strive 35 sustainability goals, we announced our goal to reduce energy intensity per ton of product 15% by 2035 over a 2019 baseline. We have identified three pathways to conserve energy and reduce our GHG footprint: purchasing renewable energy, fuel switching, and energy efficiency initiatives. With the vision and scope defined, we set a 5-year interim target to reduce energy intensity 6% by 2025. This provides a guiding path and helps ensure continuous progress toward our goal.
To calculate our energy consumption, we gather information on all facilities under our operational control using a combination of utility bills, operations data tracking systems, and fuel purchase records. Total consumption is made up of renewable fuel consumption (biofuels such as wood and biogas burned onsite); non-renewable fuel consumption (fossil fuels burned onsite); electricity consumption (purchased from utilities or power providers); and steam consumption (purchased from utilities or other off-site providers). The fuels burned onsite are used to generate steam and heat, as well as electricity at locations with cogeneration facilities. To ensure proper accounting, any electricity produced by our cogeneration facilities that gets sold to the grid is subtracted from our total energy consumption.
In 2020, we implemented more than 50 energy saving projects across various business units that will result in annual cost savings of more than $12.4 million while reducing over 273,400 MWh of energy and avoiding around 117,000 metric tons of GHG emissions. We conducted our yearly Energy Treasure Hunt Program virtually at eight of our locations and implemented changes in control strategies and operating procedures that resulted in energy reduction of 108,900 MWh. We have also instituted multiple capacity enhancement projects to improve productivity and save energy by repairing, upgrading or replacing inefficient equipment. Examples include:
- Compressed air studies and leak identification/repair efforts – Compressed air systems are mostly inefficient but vital for our manufacturing facilities. In Latur, India we replaced an old air compressor which will reduce 250 MWh of electricity use per year. We also completed engineering studies of compressed air systems at six facilities in North America.
- Standardized boiler tuning model at South American operations – The boiler-tuning process varies for different biomass-fueled boiler systems in our South American facilities. We created a standardized process for boiler tuning at our facility in Uberlandia and then implemented it across all regional systems. Through this initiative we expect reduced woodchip consumption equivalent to over 71,000 MWh of energy.
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) commissioning – At our oilseeds facility in Windsor, Canada, we installed two high-efficiency gas turbines with waste heat boilers and waste heat recovery economizers. These systems are producing 93% of the total electricity requirements for the site while also generating 100% of the steam required. This project resulted in a net production efficiency improvement of over 41,000 MWh through the deployment of updated cogeneration technology.
Water availability has become a critical issue in the last few years. As we see an increase in regions classified as water scarce or projected to be water scarce in the future, the importance of reducing water consumption and improving water quality is clear. In 2020, we announced our target to reduce water consumption by 10% per ton of product produced at our largest sites by 2035 over a 2019 baseline. In addition, to support the health and wellbeing of the communities where we operate, by 2025, we will develop a global improvement strategy in priority watersheds. This approach will allow us to implement projects where they will be the most impactful.
Our Major Water Users Group (MWUG) consists of facilities that use more than 400,000 cubic meters of water per year. The MWUG makes up more than 96% of our global water usage and are the sites for which we calculate water usage and efficiency for our Strive 35 reduction tracking. We monitor water usage using a combination of flow meters and utility billing data. We exclude once-through cooling water from our withdrawal numbers because we return the water to its original location with only a change in temperature. Although we reuse and recycle water through various processes such as cooling tower recirculating, for calculation purposes we only include the water reused after it has been processed in our onsite wastewater treatment facility.
We focus our water intensity reduction efforts on the MWUG. In 2020, we added five sites to the group. We implemented ten water conservation initiatives across the group that helped us save 935,035 cubic meters of fresh water with a cost savings of $3.3 million per year. Initiatives that we implemented in 2020 include:
- Installed membrane bioreactors at our Campo Grande, Brazil oilseeds facility to reduce pollutant loading in the wastewater generated by the facility, allowing the site to reclaim a portion of its wastewater for operational needs. This allows us to reduce our water withdrawal while also reducing the organic and ammonia loads in our wastewater by 80%, and suspended solids by 90%.
- Upgraded the wastewater treatment performance at our Decatur, Illinois complex using ultrafiltration membranes, providing additional reclaim water for use across the campus. This initiative helps reduce our water usage by 19,000 cubic meters per year
- In our Cedar Rapids, Iowa corn plant, we have modified our water sampling process to reclaim, clean and reuse the sampling stream water instead of sending it to the sewer. This reduces our sewer loading and make-up water needs by 24,000 cubic meters per year.
In 2020, we announced our new waste diversion goal. We aim to beneficially reuse, recycle or otherwise divert from landfill at least 90% of our waste. To achieve this goal, we have focused on developing a strategy to standardize our waste management and reporting program. We created a Landfill Diversion Team and rolled out our new Strive 35 Waste Management standard operating procedure. In North America, we have engaged a third-party waste management vendor that will help us to identify and implement programs on beneficial reuse.
Last year, we diverted 83% of our waste from landfills. Some examples of diversion projects include:
Waste to Electricity – ADM colleagues at several facilities identified opportunities to divert waste streams for use as fuel for electricity generation:
- Our oilseeds facility in Erith, United Kingdom sent organic wastes to anaerobic digestion plants to generate electricity diverting more than 1,800 tons of waste per year from landfills.
- Our rice facility in Arbuckle, California sent approximately 78,000 tons of rice hulls to a local electric generation company.
- In Alejandro Roca, Argentina, our Golden Peanut facility sends over 21,000 tons of peanut hulls for energy generation annually.