PepsiCo’s New Green Machine Saves Money and Cuts Carbon Emissions (… It Helps Make Gatorade Drinks, Too!)
May 17, 2017
GE Reports Canada
How excess heat from this engine is used to make some of the world’s most popular beverages including Pepsi and Gatorade drinks.
Wedged into a brightly-lit room at PepsiCo’s Mississauga, Ontario beverage manufacturing site, sits a big green machine, braced to make a sustainable difference.
The Jenbacher gas engine is one of the plant’s newest piece of advanced technology. The GE Ecomagination qualified gas engine is about 100 times the size of a car engine, and generates more than 2 megawatts of power, approximately half of what the company needs to run its plant. As an off-grid energy source, it saves money and protects the facility from power outages and price hikes.
But this Jenbacher engine doesn’t just provide reliable energy—it also helps make some of the world’s most popular beverage brands like Gatorade and Pepsi.
The Jenbacher engine is part of a cogeneration system installed at the manufacturing plant. It simultaneously powers multiple processes, like keeping the lights on and manufacturing various beverages. Additionally, PepsiCo recycles the excess heat from the engine to assist in its beverage manufacturing process.
“It’s creating power and heat,” said Ryan Merkley, PepsiCo integration director, on a recent tour of the Mississauga facility. “It helps keep this plant running even if we’re off the electricity grid; this provides our business with a significant advantage and ability to service our customers.”
A better way to bottle
The engine works much like a car engine, except that it burns natural gas. The spark ignited engine drives the generator that produces the electricity. The exhaust from the engine comes out at 700-degrees Fahrenheit, and it is then piped to a heat recovery steam generator, where the heat is used to boil water and create steam.
After the Gatorade beverage formula has been blended, the steam heats it up, to ensure there’s no microbial growth. The bottling process occurs while the Gatorade beverage is still hot, so the high temperatures also sterilize the container.
“We need to use a lot of steam to produce Gatorade drinks, and the heat that the Jenbacher gas engine generates has enabled us to shut down one of our two boilers,” says Merkley. “This not only saves money but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.” Merkley says it will take approximately six years to make back in savings what it spent on the machine—and it’s good for the environment, too.
PepsiCo estimates the Jenbacher gas engine will save 13 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which translates into a reduction of more than 3,000 metric tons of carbon per year. Investments like this support the company’s science-based goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by at least 20% by 2030.
“It’s exciting, and ultimately the right thing to do for both our business and the planet,” says Merkley. “Initiatives like Jenbacher gas engines are perfectly aligned to PepsiCo’s global ‘Performance with Purpose’ vision—to deliver top tier results by integrating sustainability into our business strategy.”
Over the next year, PepsiCo will monitor the Jenbacher gas engine’s progress, watching for ways to optimize its capabilities. “There will be a lot of key learnings,” he says. “If all goes well, our goal is to continue using government incentive programs that enable additional investments like Jenbacher gas engines, in locations where electricity prices are high and natural gas prices are low.”
For now, Merkley is still basking in the engine’s green glow. “This technology is critical for us,” he says. “We need to deliver the right products for our consumers in the most efficient manner. And we think this will help us deliver.”