Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) Programme works to facilitate technical assistance to Agri-SMEs in the dairy and vegetable sector to adapt and develop climate-resilient agri-food systems, increase smallholder incomes, and promote environmentally friendly practices with research-backed climate-friendly investments in agriculture.
CASA partnered with S.K. Dairy in Nepalgunj, one of the largest private dairy processing centers in Lumbini Province, to diversify its product line and strengthen its dairy supply chain. CASA facilitated technical assistance to the dairy to start producing mozzarella cheese and aged-hard cheese (chhurpi) and increase its milk collection volume to fully utilise its processing capacity. To diversify its product line, S.K. Dairy installed new equipment and infrastructure that would result in increased energy consumption. To maximise energy efficiency, minimize energy loss and reduce carbon emissions without compromising the productivity and quality of the dairy, CASA supported S.K. Dairy to conduct an energy audit through Rastriya Urja Dakshata Kendra Pvt. Ltd. (RUDK), a company that works in increasing energy efficiency and promotes the use of sustainable energy resources in Nepal.
RUDK conducted an energy audit at S.K. Dairy in May 2022 to measure consumption and carbon footprint with recommendations. Based on the findings, S.K. Dairy planned to reduce costs, train staff, and reduce environmental impact through greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), utilities, fuel, and electricity.
RUDK assessed energy consumption, emissions, and practices in the dairy identifying losses and conservation opportunities and provided recommendations through an energy management action plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.
Some of the recommendations made by RUDK that would provide S.K. Dairy with energy saving opportunities are as follows:
Following the recommendations, S.K. Dairy implemented these energy-saving measures:
These changes, along with staff awareness, helped reduce heat loss and improve wood usage in the boiler. A post-audit study in March 2023 assessed the impact of the changes.
The post-audit study showed that the dairy increased its capacity utilization from 52% to 65% resulting in cost savings of NRs. 25,000 (GBP 161) in energy bills every month. The structural and behavioural changes led to a reduction in energy intensity allowing the dairy to produce the same number of products with less energy, which is a significant achievement for a medium-scale enterprise.
The EEM (energy efficiency measure) implemented at the dairy has resulted in a significant decrease of around 47 tCO2 GHG emissions annually, reduced diesel and wood consumption, and improved operational efficiency of the overall system.
Despite financial limitations, S.K. Dairy implemented a few recommended changes from the audit, resulting in significant energy efficiency improvements and reduced operations costs. Mr. Santosh Pokharel, the managing director of S.K. Dairy says ‘With an investment of NRs. 1,200,000 (GBP 7,741), the dairy expects to recover the cost in less than a year.” The post-audit study shows that these energy-saving measures led to a 31% decrease in electrical energy consumption, a 24% reduction in the monthly electricity bill (NEA), and a 37% decrease in GHG emissions, making the dairy industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Motivated by the positive outcomes from the initial audit, S.K. Dairy aims to continue enhancing energy efficiency, reducing energy costs, and lowering its carbon footprint. CASA plans to share this success story with other dairy processors to inspire them to improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. Through a collaborative effort with the Dairy Industries Association (DIA) and Nepal Dairy Association (NDA), CASA will organize an information dissemination programme to provide recommendations for reducing energy consumption and related costs to other dairy processors.