Beverage Industry

Coca-Cola invests in fuel cells for Odwalla plant

March 2, 2010

The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, announced it will test fuel cells powered by environmentally friendly biogas to power its Odwalla juice packaging plant in Dinuba, Calif. Five fuel cells made by California-based Bloom Energy will be installed late this year at the plant. The cells will run on re-directed biogas and are expected to provide 30 percent of the plant’s power needs while reducing its carbon footprint by an estimated 35 percent.

The company signed as a foundation partner with Bloom Energy, which manufactures fuel cells that can generate electricity from a variety of energy sources, including natural gas. The core technology of the biogas cells is called solid oxide fuel cell and was originally developed for NASA.

“This new fuel cell technology has great promise and represents an important step for Coca-Cola in continuing to grow our business without growing the carbon footprint,” said Brian Kelley, president and general manager for Coca-Cola North America Still Beverages and Supply Chain, in a statement. “The Coca-Cola Co. has committed to hold its overall worldwide manufacturing and carbon emissions flat through 2015 from its 2004 level. We intend to do this while actually reducing emissions in the U.S. and other developed markets, improving energy efficiency and using cleaner forms of energy, like these fuel cells.”

Additional steps the Coca-Cola system has taken or plans to take to reduce its carbon footprint include reducing energy use in facilities, improving energy efficiency of new vending and cooling equipment and improving the efficiency of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ vehicle fleet.