In part from converting oat waste into clean energy, two Oatly production facilities in the United States transitioned to using 100% renewable electricity in 2021.
The oat drink company sourced renewable energy certificates (REC) from wind and solar for its facilities in Millville, New Jersey, and Ogden, Utah, as well as from oat fiber residue.
The New Jersey plant used RECs from a local biodogester that receives oat fiber residue from Oatly’s oatmilk production. That residue is then combined with other food waste to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) that generated renewable electricity for the local grid.
Oatly then purchased RECs equivalent to the electricity required for the lighting, milling, refrigeration and mixing that produces the oatmilk at the Millville facility, the company says.
At the Utah plant, the company purchased enough RECs from wind and solar sources required to get the electricity needed to run the facility. The RECs are generated from locations in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Oregon and Washington.
The company says it is also partnering with a local biodigester in that region to repurpose oat fiber residue to produce renewable natural gas.
Using natural products to produce energy is becoming more common, and the EPA says it can increase and diversify energy production. Additionally, it can use existing infrastructure such as pipelines, and be continuously produced using variety of sources such as food, water and livestock, the agency says.
One example of advancing technology: Dubai Creative Group and Power Knot collaborated with Microsoft Dubai to create a solar-powered biodigester that can turn more than 6,000 pounds of food waste a day into energy. Packaging company DS Smith is also investing nearly $9 million to turn wastewater into renewable energy.
Other recent projects include a utility plan in California that is producing RNG by capturing methane at 15 dairy farms, and projects in South Dakota are expected to provide 650 million cubic feet of RNG annually when they are completed in 2024.
Oatly plans to use 100% renewable energy throughout its operations by 2029, from a baseline of 63% in 2019. The company is based in Sweden and its brand is available in more than 20 countries.