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Nestlé announces AI technology to reduce carbon emissions

To attain zero environmental impact in its operations and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Nestlé has unveiled an industrial scale pilot project that has successfully tested a global-first, artificial intelligence technology in Africa to reduce emissions and save water at its Babelegi factory in Pretoria

Through the company’s East and Southern Africa Region operations, the industrial scale pilot project is a partnership with The Emissions Capture Company (ECCO) using its proprietary WhiteBoxTM technology, a machine-learning based system that captures Scope 1 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and recycles wastewater.

The WhiteBoxTM which has been in successful operation for over 8,000 hours, captures CO2 from flue gas emissions, recycles industrial wastewater and creates sustainable green products. These products can be sold directly for animal feed, human food, consumer goods etc or used to eliminate sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions without the need for water.

“Our global pledge to reduce our impact on the environment affects every part of our business today. This partnership with ECCO shows a significant evolution of our production processes to embrace circular principles at every step. We are proud to be pioneering this industry-first technology on the African continent. This success takes us to the next phase, where we will be looking to scale this operation to other factories to deliver significant reductions in Scope 1 emissions in ESAR,” said Saint-Francis Tohlang, corporate communications and public affairs director at Nestlé ESAR.

Data collected from the industrial scale pilot coupled with industry-first machine learning techniques, demonstrates that the WhiteBoxTM can be calibrated to capture between 25% to 70% of Scope 1 CO2 emissions and recycle available industrial wastewater per site. Much of this is done through direct air capture and energy-efficient gas processing, using low-fuel consumption methods.

“We are proud to have partnered with Nestlé in successfully demonstrating the capabilities of our cutting-edge technology set. This partnership helps pave the way for a green economy. Our approach was holistic, ensuring that pollution remediation was key, along with other considerations such as water recycling and low fuel consumption,” said Thomas F Darden, CEO of ECCO.

By design, the shift from legacy technologies to low carbon emission processes also improves livelihoods through employment creation, training, and upskilling.