Good practice

Biomass boiler cuts CO2 emissions at French cheese factory dairy

Biomass boiler cuts CO2 emissions at French cheese factory dairy
© caifas, #123788042, 2017, source:
Food processing
High cost
Associated cost savings: Energy:
Co2 emission reduction:
7000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
One off investment:

A biomass bonus

  • Cleaner biomass boiler and energy recovery equipment cuts annual CO2 emissions by 7 000 tonnes and energy bills by 40 %
  • Installation creates a full-time job and supports local economy, as bonus spin-offs 

The Bongrain Gérard d' Illoud cheese dairy is the birthplace of the Soparind Bongrain Group.

In order to enhance the value of milk for processing into cheese, the site uses a significant amount of steam throughout the manufacturing process. The steam, released at a pressure of 13 bar (~50 000 tonnes a year), is produced from two oil-fired boilers commissioned in 2007. The increasing cost of fossil fuels and heavy environmental impact of oil-fired boilers in terms of CO2 emissions led the cheese dairy to the decision to install a biomass boiler and energy recovery equipment to boost performance. 

The new wood-fired biomass boiler can generate 2.8 MW, which is coupled with a double-path economiser to recover energy from the exhaust fumes and heat the feed water. The combustion efficiency of the boiler is around 85 % at full load. The size of the boiler makes it possible to cover 56 % of the site's steam needs, producing some 1 860 toe/year or equivalent to 26 350 MWhPCI/year. The oil-fired boilers supplement the biomass boiler (providing the remaining 44 % of steam needs).

Key benefits

The biomass boiler and energy recovery system saves the cheese-maker up to 40 % on its annual energy bill, while creating a full-time boiler management job, and supporting the local economy of wood suppliers. 

The equipment reduces CO2 emissions by 7 000 tonnes per year. Thanks to the smoke treatment equipment put in place (multi-cyclonic dust collector, bag filter), the releases comply with a particle emission level of 30 mg/Nm3. The ashes in the hearth are used for on-farm composting.

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