DFA facility earns economic development grant

Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) facility in Middlebury Center, Pa., earned a Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant for energy-saving upgrades. The $75,000 grant will support the cost for increasing the energy efficiency of the facility’s boiler, which produces process steam. The installation of the boiler’s new burner and heat exchanger will result in reduced fuel consumption, lower energy costs and improved sustainability.

The improved efficiency of the new burner is estimated to lower natural gas consumption by 10–15 percent per year, and the transition to the heat exchanger is a sustainable solution to heating the water necessary for the facility’s production process. The new system will capture latent heat from the exhaust stack and redirect it to heat water used to create steam.

“By utilizing new technology, we can reclaim what was wasted energy and recycle it to use in our process,” said Alan Sauter, Middlebury Center’s plant manager. “With this change, we’re fulfilling our dedication to our farmer-members and the community to work in a responsible, sustainable manner.”

The benefits of the new burner and heat exchanger come from specially engineered parts that are built for efficiency.

“Driving performance is part of DFA’s strategic plan, and we are proud to support that by utilizing innovation to work efficiently and to improve our sustainability,” Sauter said.

The Middlebury Center plant is one of DFA’s 33 wholly owned processing facilities. The plant produces dairy ingredients, condensed milk and cream. The upgrade to the system is expected to be completed later this year.

PEDA awarded nearly $12.5 million to 28 local governments, schools and businesses for their alternative and clean energy projects. The PEDA board reviewed more than 180 grant applications.