Chocolate manufacturer, Campco, (Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative) Ltd, can teach others a thing or two about energy conservation. The cooperative’s efforts to switch over a major part of its chocolate manufacturing process from traditional fuel-based energy sources to wind and bio-fuels have helped it save around Rs. 3 crore a year, informed Suresh Bhandary, Managing Director of Campco.
A major portion of the factory’s operations in Puttur, near Mangalore, involves generation of steam to run boilers. Prior to 2007, the factory was using around 600 kilo litres of furnace oil a year to run boilers. That year, it replaced furnace oil with bio-briquettes, which are made out of agro wastes available in the region. The use of bio-briquettes brought down the cost of steam production by 70 per cent.
The cooperative, which invested around Rs.1 crore in the project, recovered the cost in eight months. Bhandary said that the cooperative has been saving around Rs.1.2 crore a year on steam production for running the boilers since then. Campco’s decision to go in for wind power generation in 2009 too is paying dividends as the power tariffs have been increasing every year. Campco has a total installed wind power capacity of 2.95 MW in three units (one in Hoovinahadagali taluk and two units in Chikkodi taluk in Karnataka).
The total power requirement of the factory is around 58 lakh units a year. Of this, wind power contributes around 46 lakh units a year. Mr. Bhandary informed that around 12 lakh units of grid power is used every year, and the rest comes from the windmills. The cost of wind power production works out at Rs3.90 a unit. Grid power costs Rs 6.20 a unit. As a result , the cooperative is saving more than Rs1 crore a year in power consumption costs at the chocolate factory. The factory also uses vapour absorption mechanism to run the air-conditioning system, which cuts costs.