NBC invests N6.8bn in solar facilities to power Lagos, three other plants

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, NBC, franchise bottlers of popular Coca-Cola drink in the country, has invested about N6.8billion (€ 15 million) on solar power installations to boost energy access in four of its bottling plants across Nigeria. This was revealed by Matthieu Seguin, Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, NBC, in Lagos, on Wednesday

The NBC’s new decision ranks the beverage company as one of the leading beverage plants in Nigeria championing the course of renewable at industrial scale.

EnergyDay had earlier reported  the increasing rise in the number of large scale installations of solar power in Nigeria, especially by top brands including 7up, Big Cola, Nigerian Breweries and FCMB.

According to the MD, the € 15 million will be invested in solar facilities for  NBC’s Ikeja, Benin, Owerri and Port Harcourt plants, adding that four of the company’s plants located in Maiduguri, Abuja, Asejire in Oyo State and Challawa, Kano have been partly powered by solar plants.

The Coca Cola MD said, “NBC is part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company group, CCHBC, which has an uncompromising commitment to minimize our environmental footprint whilst enriching the communities where we operate.

“In line with this, CCHBC has initiated a set of sustainability commitments ahead of 2025, which seeks to address six major areas including the reduction of emissions, water use and stewardship, working towards a world without waste, ingredients sourcing, nutrition, people, and communities.

“Advancing towards these commitments, NBC has mainstream sustainability into every aspect of our operations. One of the major challenges facing sustainable manufacturing are Carbon emissions from non-[1]renewable energy sources”, added the MD.

Seguin further said, “NBC has eight manufacturing plants spread across the nation. We have taken this challenge of climate change heads-on and over the years, have been investing in solutions which have enabled us to make significant advancements in our focus areas of energy use reduction, water use reduction, emissions reduction, and waste generation reduction”.

“In 2020, we initiated to Hybrid Solar Power for our Manufacturing Operations. The idea was to commenced the process of evolving all of our manufacturing plants to be powered in part by renewable solar energy.

“Today, we can boast of the fact that 50% of our manufacturing plants are now powered in part by solar energy with the photovoltaic cells delivering up to 3,640-Kilowatt peak power output, KWp, to the facilities.

“The hybrid power set up in these NBC plants, allow them to substitute the national power grid and generator backups to the extent of available solar generated power, thereby reducing the consumption of power from less environmentally friendly sources.

“The four manufacturing plants which have since gone live with this technology are located in Maiduguri, Abuja, Asejire in Oyo State and Challawa, Kano. Further installations will continue through this year 2022, to ensure even more sustainable growth across the NBC ecosystem”.

“By the end of 2022, when the solar power installations would have been implemented in our four remaining manufacturing plants in Ikeja, Benin, Owerri and Port Harcourt; overall we will be powering our manufacturing operations with up to 15,947 KWp from Solar Energy which is equivalent to the power required to power over 2,170 standard three-bedroom homes.

“Together, the existing installations now translate to an annual carbon footprint reduction of over 3,600 tons, with the capacity for expansion in the future. Beyond the direct impact on reduced emissions, another indirect positive outcome of this project is that over 167,000 trees have been saved and through the evolution and the implementation; supported the creation of 300 jobs with an additional 480 jobs forecasted to be created in support of the system this year”, revealed MBC boss.

The Managing Director stated that another area the Company is optimizing its operations through technology is through its heavy investments in Combined Heat and Power Plants, CHP, plants. With the technology of the CHP, after electricity is generated using gas to power the gas generators in the plant, the resultant exhaust gas and heat is redirected from going into atmosphere to generate steam.

“The heat from the steam  is used as a secondary energy source to further power some aspects of our manufacturing operations.

“Today, we have six CHP plants in five of our eight Manufacturing plants including Port-Harcourt, Ikeja, Benin, Owerri and Asejire Plants, all resulting in a significant reduction of our carbon footprints across the country. Overall, the six CHP plants generate 25.5Mw of power delivering 125,267MWh of electrical energy including 68,267MWh as steam energy, as a bye product, which without the CHP would have been produced with fossil fuel”, stated the MD.

The amount of energy generated by our CHP plants according to him is capable of powering over 11,300 standard 3-bedroom homes. These plants he said, have reduced CO2 emissions by as much as 71,883 Tons and saved over 3,333,000 trees. Collectively, the business invests over N1.7 billion  in running the 6 CHPs annually.

“Talking about other Innovations Supporting Our Sustainable Manufacturing Efforts, he said, “there are other sustainable manufacturing initiatives we have deployed in the recent past. In 2008, we launched the light-weighted packaging campaign, with the rollout of Ultra glass bottle, marking a major shift from the regular bottles. It has not only resulted in 16% weight reduction of our 50cl bottles and 14% of the 35cl range, but it has also led to significant CO2 emission reduction”.

“Similarly, we have embarked on fleet conversion/replacement to CNG trucks. Already, we have introduced 10 of these trucks to our fleet, which are already delivering cumulative CO2 emission savings of 17 Tons every month. Our constraint in this area is availability of CNG, which limits acceleration of the number of these vehicles in our fleet”, he noted.

“We have also started transitioning our diesel-powered forklifts to models which are powered by electricity; contributing further to our CO2 emissions savings as a business. So far 109 forklifts have transitioned, with a plan for all 200 forklifts used in the business to be transitioned by the end of this year, 2022”, the MD revealed.

“Across the CCHBC group, we have a commitment to have achieved net zero emissions by the year 2040. We are pleased that we are already working our way towards achieving this goal in NBC.

He said that NBC is adopting sustainable production options due to its commitment to continue solidifying its footing as a champion of sustainable manufacturing in the country.

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