Tartaric acid factory saves on energy bills through bio-reactor

Australia’s biggest manufacturer of natural tartaric acid has seen significant energy savings since installing a biomass reactor, according to its general manager.

Colignan, Victoria’s Australian Tartaric Products takes grape sludge and lees from winemakers and converts this into food-grade grape spirit and tartaric acid, which lowers pH and acts as a preservative.

The acid is sold back to the wine industry.

The leftover waste includes grape marc (skins and pips), which was previously used as compost.

The company’s biomass reactor burns the marc and generates steam energy, and has seen the company cut its LPG bill considerably, according to Ben Manfield, the company’s general manager.

"We've also started generating electricity this year and we're noticing a drop [in the power bill] as well," he told the ABC.

According to an old case study from the Australian Industry Group, the biomass reactor helps “close the loop” on 90,000 tonnes of grape waste a year.

The reactor was installed with assistance from a $1.8 million Ai Group/Victorian EPA grant and a $1.8 million state Regional Infrastructure Development Fund.

The north-west Victorian plant has been running since 1991.

Image: http://www.australiantartaric.com.au/