Sarena Ulibarri is a Justmeans staff writer for Ethical Consumption. Sarena has been a web writer since 2008 and has contributed content to eHow.com, education-portal.com, wiki.name.com, Associated Content from Yahoo! and other sites. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in '07 and will begin an MFA program in 2011....
NASA Technology Helps Odwalla Reduce Carbon Footprint
Odwalla juices and snack bars have always claimed to be healthy for the body, and now they can claim to be healthy for the Earth as well. As part of their commitment to reducing the company's environmental impact, Odwalla's California packaging plant has installed innovative clean energy generators.
In February 2010, Odwalla announced plans to install the "Energy Server," a fuel cell technology originally designed by NASA, in their Dinuba, California factory. In March 2011, that installation was completed; Odwalla's Dinuba plant is now partially run by an electrochemical process so clean it does not even need an emission permit. Thirty percent of the energy needed to run the Odwalla plant will come from renewable biogas processed by the Energy Server fuel cells. The Energy Servers are expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions for Odwalla by as much as five million pounds, creating a 35% decrease in the company's carbon footprint.
What Is An Energy Server?
Although the Energy Server was originally designed by NASA, it is now being marketed and installed by Bloom Energy, a California energy company founded in 2001. Energy Servers contain Solid Oxide Fuel Cells that convert natural gas or biogas to electricity without combustion, so fewer waste products are created from the conversion. Odwalla has installed five Energy Server units in their California factory.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells are made from inexpensive materials and are highly efficient, but have only recently been harnessed for their commercial potential. Since Bloom Energy has developed a way to provide this energy source at an affordable cost, consumers should not expect an increase in the cost of Odwalla products. Energy Server fuel cells from Bloom Energy are also being used to reduce carbon emissions by other large companies such as FedEx, Safeway and Staples.
Odwalla's Greater Sustainability Efforts
Odwalla is a beverage company owned by The Coca Cola Company, which ranked 113 on the 2009 Global 1000 list, based on corporate social responsibility. Odwalla is based out of California, and produces healthy and all-natural juices, smoothies and snacks. The new fuel cells at the factory are only one of Odwalla's recent sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts. Through their "Plant A Tree" program, Odwalla has worked with state parks to donate more than 200,000 trees. Odwalla also donates ten cents from the sale of each mango-flavored smoothie to the Haiti Hope Fund, which supports Haitian mango farmers. The Coca Cola Company is making efforts to package many of their products, including Odwalla beverages, in earth-friendly plastic.
Photo Credit: GoodNCrazy