General Mills Turns to Biogas to Help Meet 100% Renewable Electricity Goal

General Mills has set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 as part of the RE100 global corporate initiative. To achieve this, the company is investing in renewable energy efforts to support the company’s environmental objectives. Examples include two large-scale wind farms which will produce renewable energy credits (RECs), and anaerobic digestion (which captures and uses methane from waste to generate electricity). Internationally, the company is investigating renewable projects where it has energy-intensive operations.
General Mills Turns to Biogas to Help Meet 100% Renewable Electricity Goal

“Signing on to a movement like RE100 extends our commitment to renewable electricity globally, across our supply chain,” said John Church, chief supply chain officer at General Mills. “We know we’re able to drive more widespread action and impact when we make bold commitments. And we’re proud to be among those corporations that are taking the initiative to use scale for good because together, we can secure more measurable and meaningful results.” 

In 2015, General Mills was the first company across any sector to publish a goal approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s full value chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 28% by 2025. Through 2019, General Mills has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its extended value chain by 14% compared to its 2010 baseline.

Biogas renewables 

The renewable energy projects currently underway, as well as those yet to be implemented, will enable the company to reduce Scope 2 emissions in its global operating facilities. Projects underway thus far include:

In North America, the company has a 1.6 megawatt generator fueled by the anaerobic biodigester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee. Self-renewing bacteria in the biodigester convert plant process wastewater from its yogurt and dough production into the biogas fuel. Power and heat from the generator are fed directly back into the yogurt processing facility to reduce its annual grid power and natural gas purchases by up to 20%.

In South America, the company has a 335 kilowatt biogas regeneration plant at its Paranavai Yoki location. This plant is one of the largest manufacturing plants in Brazil where electric power is produced from biogas generated by the site’s wastewater treatment system. The power is used by the plant with any excess sent to the local electric utility, reducing the company’s power spend by 30%.

In Europe, the company has a 195 kilowatt capacity biogas regeneration plant at its Arras, France Häagen-Dazs production facility. The plant uses electric power produced from generators that are fueled by renewable biogas from the site’s process wastewater treatment system. When the plant doesn't use it, the power generated from the biogas is sold to the local utility grid, while heat in the form of hot water is recovered to reduce natural gas consumption at the ice cream plant.  

“We are pleased to welcome General Mills to RE100,” said Sam Kimmins, head of RE100. “It is great to see such an influential business commit to 100% renewable electricity globally. General Mills’ leadership sends a strong signal to the wider industry that corporations can make a major contribution to the creation of tomorrow’s clean, resilient energy systems.”


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