January 28 (Renewables Now) - US beverage and food company PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) has installed a solar thermal plant to heat process water at its Sete Lagoas snacks factory in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, according to a news release on Thursday.
The installation consists of high-vacuum solar thermal flat panels supplied by Swiss company TVP Solar.
PepsiCo said that the solar thermal system allowed it to reduce natural gas usage in the unit by 140,000 cubic metres. This lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by almost 280 tonnes, equivalent to the planting of nearly 18,000 trees, it added.
During the summer months, the solar facility generated about 3.9 kWh per square metre daily of thermal energy, delivering hot water at 60-75 degrees C, which is used in processes such as cooking corn for the company’s snacks. According to Bruno Guerreiro, sustainability manager at PepsiCo Brazil, the technology can be deployed in other PepsiCo Brazil plants in the coming years.
The solar thermal plant supports PepsiCo’s aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040.