How Tesla is powering a better beef business
In Fresno, one large-scale beef processing plant has electrified its push to be an industry leader in sustainability
March 11, 2016
Cargill, the plant owner, contacted Tesla, a revolutionary electric car company based in California, to collaborate on a unique initiative. Together with Pacific Gas & Electric, a local utility provider, Tesla and Cargill installed a 1-megawatt battery system — the same technology used in Tesla’s clean-air vehicles — at the Fresno beef processing plant.
During off-peak hours, the batteries store electricity to be used during peak use hours, when electricity rates are at their highest. It was a groundbreaking idea: taking the latest in electric battery storage technology and introducing it into a large-scale industrial setting. With the installation in the first half of 2015, Cargill was one of the first companies to employ the technology at its facility.
Jon Nash, the plant’s manager, and his team of 1,000 employees operate one of the most environmentally-friendly meat processing facilities in the United States, maintaining a remarkably small footprint while producing more than 110,000 metric tons of beef annually.
“Tesla Energy Storage is another example of our willingness to employ new and different concepts for reducing our environmental footprint,” said Nash. “We understand that while we produce nourishing protein for millions of people on the West Coast, it is important for us to do so as responsibly as possible.”
In addition to leading the charge on battery powered operations, the plant utilizes solar energy collection and methane gas recovery systems to offer renewable ways to heat water, which provides an environmentally sustainable way to sanitize the plant and equipment for food safety. And while the facility’s past sustainability achievements are significant, the team is constantly driven to do even more.
In Fresno, the Tesla™ batteries are currently supplying approximately 25 percent of the plant’s electricity needs and are projected to save the facility over U.S. $100,000 annually. Looking ahead, Cargill believes there is the potential to apply this technology at more facilities in more of its businesses, reducing the company’s environmental impact in countries around the world.
This article first appeared on CargillVoice on Forbes.