Government Rules Lead to New Evaporator Plant

By Tina Caparella

As some U.S. renderers revamp the way they do business because of the Food and Drug Administration’s new enhanced feed rule that went into enforcement October 26, 2009, Canadian renderers have been complying with an even stricter specified risk material (SRM) regulation for over two years. A few Canadian renderers are processing prohibited material on a separate line in the same plant, but one renderer decided it was worth investing millions of dollars in a new facility to avoid any potential problems.

West Coast Reduction’s Calgary, Alberta, facility has been in the same location processing poultry and beef by-products in two different systems since the 1960s, although renovated several times over the years to ensure efficiency. In 2003, after Canada discovered its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the company decided to remove the poultry line and dedicate the facility to just beef products. Then in 2007, when the current ban went into effect, West Coast Reduction dedicated one line for SRM and the other for non-SRM. However, as it became evident that separation of material could be an issue, the company opted to build a new facility on the same site to process just the non-SRM beef products.

Company engineers designed the plant internally, giving them the opportunity to enhance upon certain design features experienced in other facilities. The blueprints were then turned over to Dupps engineers to refine the plans for the new evaporator system. The two-year planning and build process even involved the local community, who initially wanted the plant to move but eventually realized the necessity of the existing location and suggested the raw material holding area be enclosed, which West Coast Reduction accommodated. This section of the building also allows company trucks to be housed indoors overnight, keeping engines warm during the harsh Calgary winters.

Operating since June 2009, the new evaporator system, which runs under negative pressure, is more complex to operate and uses more electricity than other systems, but overall is more energy efficient, using waste heat from other sources in the plant and less natural gas. The new facility has twice the capacity of the old system, according to Geoff Smolkin, director of Prairie Operations, and features scrubbers supplied by SCP Control of Minneapolis, MN, and thermal oxidizers equipped by a Canadian company for odor control.

Evaporator systems are not new to the rendering industry. Dupps has been installing them since the late 1970s with energy efficiency being the primary reason for their popularity. Dupps engineer Jeff Hendrix said the company has seen a renewed interest in retrofit evaporator systems that can use more waste heat than a newly installed system.

West Coast Reduction processes all their beef products at the Calgary plant meaning by-products collected in British Columbia and Northern Alberta must be trucked to the facility, including from Vancouver 600 miles over the Canadian Rockies to the west. Trucks are dedicated to either hauling prohibited or non-prohibited products so material is not co-mingled.

Smolkin said it was important to include the nearby community to find solutions to their concerns. A grand opening event held at the facility earlier this year welcomed Alberta’s minister of agriculture, other top government officials, and community members, who all provided favorable comments.

West Coast Reduction has also worked closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) since the ban was put into place. A full-time CFIA inspector is currently on-site at the SRM line in Calgary, and although both sides have had opposing views at times, Smolkin said the relationship is a good one.

Tech Topics – December 2009 RENDER | back