Innovative eco-solution promotes cost efficiency

August 15, 2020
Rice husks
The rice husks are processed in a biomass boiler as an alternative fuel source used to produce steam for PIlmico’s feed processing plant in Tarlac.

ABOITIZ Group’s integrated agribusiness and food unit Pilmico Foods Corporation (Pilmico) has found yet another way to use the by-products of rice husks used as an alternative to bunker fuel in its feeds manufacturing plant.  By extending the by-product’s purpose, the company is able to implement additional cost efficiency measures in its operations.

In 2018, Pilmico started using a  biomass boiler that utilized rice husks as an alternative to bunker fuel for its feeds production process. The boiler generates steam to cook and sanitize the feeds by burning rice husks which are by-products of rice production sourced from partner rice mills.

The biomass boiler is part of Pilmico’s efforts to reduce production cost and carbon footprint. Through the use of rice husks, Pilmico was able to cut more than 60 percent of its bunker fuel use.

With the increasing bunker fuel costs and heightened concerns about the environmental impacts of non-renewables, reduced bunker fuel consumption of companies can address both concerns. Pilmico’s use of alternative biomass fuel in its operations reduced their overall production costs and emissions. This increased profitability, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability in the communities the group operates in.

In constant search for sustainable alternatives, civil engineers of the Pilmico Animal Nutrition Corporation (PANC) discovered other potential uses of the rice husks’ by-product.

The ash wastes from burned rice husks are now being used as an alternative mix for cement for the facilities’ construction needs.

To minimize cost and further reduce wastes from Pilmico’s Tarlac feeds and farms facility, PANC’s engineers conducted research to explore other supplemental uses of waste ash from the biomass boiler. After a series of experiments, they were able to establish a concrete mix from waste ash that would reduce actual cement usage by 20 percent.

Used in Pilmico’s Slaughterhouse and Meat Cutting facility in Tarlac, the waste ash mixture supplemented the concrete mix for road perimeters including curb and gutter that controls water flow by coursing it to specific drainages. This helps avoid flooding around the facility. Meanwhile, the perimeter fence that surrounds the entire facility is also made of the same waste ash and cement mixture.

The waste ash and cement mixture is also used for the concrete slats in Pilmico’s swine farm. These slats are used for the elevated flooring of the swine pens that have a flushing system underneath for easier cleaning and maintenance.

“When we started using the biomass boiler almost two years ago, we saw process improvement and reduced costs. But in Pilmico, we know that the challenge does not stop there. If you find a solution for something, you continue to improve that to ensure that it stays relevant,” said Engr. Michael D. Cayabyab, Maintenance Mechanical Supervisor-Central Maintenance Department (CMD) of PANC. 

According to PANC’s Central Maintenance Department (CMD), the precast concrete slabs used for the road perimeters are highly efficient and beneficial because the construction team was able to produce their preferred specifications, allowing them to build with better quality and efficiently-produced materials.