The new process has been introduced at its two Norwegian manufacturing facilities and it expects a reduction in fossil fuels of 25% this year, with a complete replacement to come in an unspecified future period of time.
GC Rieber’s method uses the saturated fats that are produced as a by-product when omega-3s are distilled from raw fish oils as steam-producing fuel.
Fat as biofuel
“In fish oil there is also a rather large amount of saturated fat which from a nutritional point of view, is not interesting for further production,” the company said.
“Using distillation, these saturated fats are being separated from the process. The waste of fatty acids can be used as biodiesel and replace today’s fuel oil.”
The company said its new process had been approved by the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency.
“The replacement of fuel oil started in September, and the experience so far is that the boilers are burning more cleanly and with less soot,” it said.
“Analysis shows that the emission of sulphur is anticipated to be reduced considerably compared to fuel oil from petroleum. In addition to being environmentally friendly, this is also a lucrative for the company.”
However the process would produce the same amount of carbon dioxide.
Research is ongoing into making use of other production waste, the company said.
GC Reiber’s omega-3 oils are typically used in food supplements, cosmetics, animal feed and functional foods and are sourced from cod liver, tuna and salmon oils.
It expanded its production capacity at the end of 2010, when it said: “With present expansions’, our refinery ranks among the largest in the world when it comes to capacity and efficiency.”
“We have a long history of sourcing crude fish oils for our production and with our partners in North Africa and South America we are highly integrated towards the largest crude fish oil sources in the World.”