Cootamundra plant blazes trail in carbon mitigation projects

Jon Condon, 21/08/2012


The GM Scott beef and sheep abattoir in Cootamundra, NSW has become the first in Australia to receive Federal Government funding support for a carbon mitigation project.

GM Scott’s owner Barry Noble said the abattoir, which processes 3500 lambs and 200 cattle daily, will undertake a $200,000 project designed to help its two industrial refrigeration units run more efficiently.

Low Carbon Australia is financing about 55 percent of the project, which has received just over $85,000 from the Australian Government’s Clean Technology Program.

The upgrade will allow the plant to expand production, boosting its future as a supplier to the Woolworths supermarket chain.

“This equipment upgrade will help support our existing contract to supply Woolworths, as well as our plans to extend our reach into international markets,” Mr Noble said.

The program of investment, including upgrading the chiller complex and a recycled rainwater project, was part of the company’s broader sustainability commitment, he said.

Low Carbon Australia’s chief executive Meg McDonald said the project would allow the processing business to create significant energy savings.

“It will help combat rising energy costs, improve productivity and further secure the abattoir’s future as a major employer of 200 local staff in Cootamundra,” she said.

GM Scott worked with specialist refrigeration and process cooling consultant, Minus40 to devise a cost-effective way of making energy savings at the plant.

Minus40 director Michael Bellstedt said the ‘Smart control’ equipment to be fitted as part of the project would allow refrigeration to operate at reduced pressure ratios, which causes less stress on parts and prolongs operating life.

“These ‘Smart controls’ are less expensive than replacing existing equipment, yet they can make considerable inroads into operational efficiencies,” he said.

GM Scott is a privately-owned processing business with an annual turnover of $25 million. Established in 1952, it now employs 200 staff, making it Cootamundra’s largest employer.

The plant’s gas-flushed, cryovac sealed lamb products are sold into export and domestic markets, while its fresh beef and lamb are produced under the Noble Farm brand. The factory also processes boneless legs of lamb and frenched racks for NSW Woolworths supermarkets.

Sydney-based engineering services firm Minus40 was founded in 2000 and specialises in refrigeration and process cooling systems and related technical fields.

The company provides consulting, engineering and project management services to government bodies, end-users of refrigeration and process cooling systems, equipment manufacturers and refrigeration contractors throughout Australia and NZ.

While GM Scott is the first Australian processor to receive government financial support under the Clean Technology Investment Program, the first batch of five applications from ‘permit-liable’ processing plants (those larger factories directly-exposed to the Government’s $23/tonne carbon tax) are expected to go before an AusIndustry review panel in time for the October review session in Canberra.

The remaining five applications under the CTIP are expected to be submitted before the end of the year.

  • Low Carbon Australia was established by the Federal Government in 2010 as a limited company with an independent board of directors. Its purpose is to provide financial solutions and advice to Australian business, government and the community to encourage action on energy efficiency, cost-effective carbon reductions, and accreditation for carbon-neutral products and organisations. Since its launch, Low Carbon Australia has contracted investments worth about $35m.




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