Caterpillar Inc and SunSelect Produce have announced a strategic collaboration that will take the waste products of Caterpillar’s combined heat and power cogeneration facility in Mossville, Illinois, and put them to productive use in SunSelect hydroponic greenhouses.
SunSelect will purchase real estate adjacent to Caterpillar’s energy generation facility, Advanced Tri-Gen Power Systems (ATPS), to construct a hydroponic greenhouse which is expected to utilise excess thermal energy and carbon dioxide from ATPS’s natural gas fired turbines.
By providing low grade heat and abundant CO2, the collaboration will maximise healthy plant production in the SunSelect facility and allow for more efficient use of Caterpillar’s power generation plant, the groups said.
"We're optimistic about what this project will mean for our local community, bringing new jobs to the area and a new option for locally-grown produce to consumers," said Frank Crespo, Caterpillar vice-president and chief procurement officer with responsibility for ATPS. “This project also perfectly exemplifies Caterpillar’s commitment to sustainability – which seeks a balance of environmental stewardship, economic growth and social responsibility."
The SunSelect greenhouse will operate with a year-round growing season, serving as the company’s Midwest hub for both production and distribution, while operations are expected to add up to 300 permanent local jobs when fully operational.
"This collaboration is a significant step in our long-term growth strategy," said Reinhold Krahn, director of SunSelect. "Building on our existing distribution footprint, this Midwest base will allow us to expand our ability to grow fresh and healthy vegetables, safely and responsibly, on the smallest amount of land possible."
Subject to permitting, regulatory approvals and other required steps, it is anticipated that the agreement will close in the second quarter of 2016.