Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. owners Gus and Sandra Hargrove started their business as a retirement project—and now, 20 years later, it’s grown to be one of the largest sugaries in all of New Brunswick and one of the single largest organic maple producers in the entire world.
Situated in the pristine wilderness of the Appalachian Hardwood Forest in the heart of the province, Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd has approximately 138,000 taps and produces up to 200,000 litres of 100% certified organic maple syrup every year. Turning sap into syrup takes a lot of energy and finding ways to reduce energy consumption is great for the environment and helps the bottom line.
Energy efficiency upgrades have helped Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. become more competitive in their industry. And in addition to a more efficient process and a significant projected cost savings on the price of fuel, these upgrades have allowed Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. to get much closer to their goal of being carbon neutral. And that’s what every day energy leadership looks like.
Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. worked with NB Power’s Industrial Energy Advisors to explore available programs and incentives. From the feasibility study, two primary projects were identified to help reduce their energy consumption.
PROJECT 1 NEW EQUIPMENT
Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. installed new technology—some of which had never been tried before in the maple syrup industry—that leverages reverse osmosis to make the sap to syrup conversion process much more efficient. The process was modified to allow high brix evaporation. Before upgrades, about 8L of concentrated sap was evaporated to get 1L of syrup. After the upgrades only about 2.5L of concentrated sap was evaporated to get 1L of syrup.
PROJECT 2 INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES
In addition to new technology, Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. worked with NB Power to extend power lines to their facility, eliminating the need to use diesel generators and vacuum pumps. With this change, Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. is expecting to save at least 100,000L of diesel fuel per year, saving $65,000/year.
Canadian Organic Maple Co. Ltd. was looking to lower costs and to implement more sustainable business practices. They heard about NB Power’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Program from a contact at the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries. Before investing in any new retrofits or new technology, they wanted to get a better sense of the costs and the business case. They started with a feasibility study to help identify and verify upgrades specific to their business. The feasibility study identified several opportunities at the plant to reduce electricity and fuel consumption.