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Bell-Carter Foods’ Commitment to Sustainable Operations Earns Company a Significant Rebate Check From PG&E

On Friday, February 10, 2012, PG&E presented Bell-Carter Foods, LLC. with a check for $114,475—a rebate to acknowledge remarkable energy savings generated from a special aeration project constructed to reduce energy use at Bell-Carter Foods’ waste water treatment facility.

“This is a great accomplishment for us as we continue to focus on and improve upon our sustainable practices at Bell-Carter Foods,” said Ron Kerr, Director of Engineering for Bell-Carter Foods. “It is extremely important to us to implement energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly projects. This is just one example of our efforts.”

This particular project focuses on reducing energy consumption during waste water treatment. The aeration project consists of automated controls for 65 motors that inject air into waste water. The injected air is required for the natural biologic process of treating waste water.

Base Energy, a contractor with PG&E based in San Francisco, measured Bell-Carter Foods’ system and compared energy use. They found that the energy saved from the project earned Bell-Carter foods a 50% rebate on cost the entire project (it cost approximately $228,949 to install the project).

As a result of this energy-efficient system, Bell-Carter Foods is estimated to reduce electrical consumption by 2,743,404 KWH, and reduce the cost of treating the waste water by $329,208 annually. It will reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 788 tons, and the energy saved is the equivalent of what is needed to power 497 homes.

The aeration project accomplishes three major tasks:

  • Dissolved oxygen probes measure how much oxygen is in the water. When the level drops, the aeration motors turn on to inject oxygen. They shut off when not needed to save electricity.
  • When a motor is running, its efficiency is measured and recorded. When a motor is needed, the system turns on the most efficient motor first, followed by the second most efficient, and then the third most efficient. Likewise, it turns off the least efficient motor first.
  • The system is programmed to monitor peak times for energy use and keeps motors off as much as possible during peak time.

Another unique element of the system is the energy sharing partnership between Bell-Carter Foods and San Francisco based energy company EnerNOC. When Bell-Carter Foods’ system shuts down during peak times, it essentially shares its saved energy with other places through an interruptible power service supply. The check presentation from PG&E will take place at Bell-Carter Foods’ company headquarters, also the site of its production plant, in Corning.