Since 1995 Cargill operates a sunflower seed crushing plant near Donestk, Ukraine. The two by-products from this process are the meal and husk. The meal is rich in protein and used as animal feedstock. The husk is dry and with a relatively high calorific value an interesting energy source. The objective of this investment analysis was to optimise the value of the husk.
During a five month’s stay at the plant, I worked together with the engineering and finance departments to calculate the environmental, technical and financial merits of a number of investment options to use the husk. The options varied from exporting as a fuel to Europe, to on-site power or heat production and from pelletisation to on-site production of methanol or ethanol. On the financial side, the sale of carbon credits was considered as an additional revenue stream for those options which would reduce emissions in Ukraine.
On-site combustion for the production of process steam was concluded to be the most viable option. Just after my departure, Cargill contracted a Belgian company to install a boiler.
Due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, milling operations at Cargill Donestk have been suspended since 2014.