Food firm WILD takes a greener approach

A German-based ingredients and flavouring company is boosting its green credentials by investing in a water recycling system that also generates power.

WILD produces flavour enhancers and spice mixes for meat products and is building the new system at its company headquarters in Heidelberg-Eppelheim, Germany. The company hopes to commission the €5m technology, which creates biogas from organic substances in recycled water, by 2008. It claims that the gas created by the system can be used to power a generator and a proportion of the water can then be reused in production.

"The company's goal is to set up processes in an efficient manner to ensure maximum conservation of resources and environmental protection," said a spokesperson.

"With the expansion of the Eppelheim site over the past few years and the increased capacity, more and more processed water accrues; so WILD is constructing a new system for recycling water and generating power."

The core component of the processed water treatment system is an anaerobic reactor that uses special bacteria to convert substances contained in the processed water into methane gas.

The company estimates that 3,600 cubic metres of gas will be produced daily and the gas will be used in a gas engine with an attached generator to produce power. "This helps the public water treatment facilities, allowing WILD to use the energy contained in the water to produce power and heat; therefore saving resources," said a spokesperson. "Furthermore, the new system will enable the company to close any process loops."

WILD is one of many manufacturing companies that are starting to look at ways to meet consumer demands for food with low environmental impacts. Meat processors are thought to have particular advantage in this field, as waste products from abattoirs are particularly suited to anae-

robic digestion.