Milk processing factories are now likely to translate to major savings in energy costs as Geothermal Development Company (GDC) unveils the use of geothermal steam to pasteurize milk at its Menengai base, in Nakuru County.
This makes GDC the first entity in Africa to deploy this technology.
According to GDC’s manager in charge of the Direct Use Department Engineer Martha Mburu, the company is pasteurizing 1,200 liters per month exclusively for in-house use and GDC has registered a cost saving of 40 percent.
“It’s a success. Geothermal heat is cost-effective and environment friendly,” said Eng Mburu.
Engineer Mburu said that Milk pasteurization is one of the many industrial processes that can benefit from geothermal heat.
“Our pasteurizer was meant for research and marketing, for the past six years, we have gathered interesting data and lessons. Now we’re confident that the future of milk pasteurization is through geothermal energy.” She explained.
She added that the processors will no longer need to cut down trees for wood fuel or import heavy oil to heat boilers for pasteurization and it is a big win for the environment.
Engineer Mburu noted that GDC is seeing an opportunity to empower the milk value chain in the region, she encouraged local Cooperatives to start their own small and mid-sized pasteurization processors, in order to curb milk losses especially in times of gluts since unpasteurized milk has a shelf-life of three days.
“We will establish a bigger facility where local dairies can lease for a few hours to pasteurize their milk. That way, they don’t need the heavy initial capital,” Eng. Mburu noted.
GDC’s Officer Coordinating the pasteurization project Japhet Towett said that it is important for the project to be unlocked for commercial use soonest.
“Time is of the essence if this value is to be unlocked for commercial purposes, then we have to start early,” said Towett.
Adapted from the GEO Blog.