Topeka biomass boiler

How our Topeka Site is Cutting Fuel Use and Carbon Emissions

At Frito-Lay, we’re always working to improve how we make our snacks while maintaining our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. Critical to our efforts are dedicated resource conservation teams comprised of technical experts in the energy, waste and water space. These experts look at the ways we do business and come up with solutions to make our plants run more efficiently.

One example of how the work of our resource conservation teams comes to life is our Topeka, Kansas, manufacturing site. In 2010, the site completed the installation of a biomass boiler system designed to cut fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. This initial pilot project using biomass fuel was years in the making and required close collaboration between leaders at the site and headquarters teams, business partners and government officials.

So what exactly is a biomass boiler system and how does it work? We’re glad you asked.

Biomass is any biological material that can be used as fuel such as wood waste and organic waste.

At the Topeka manufacturing facility, we use local wood and agricultural waste as an energy source to convert water to steam, providing process heating through steam / oil heat exchangers. In this way, biomass replaces non-renewable fossil fuels to help power the plant. Today, more than 60 percent of the site’s energy comes from biomass.

The biomass boiler system has reduced the Topeka site’s use of natural gas by 60 percent since its launch in 2010, all while delivering significant cost savings for the facility. And it diverts tons of wood waste from disposal in landfills.

Over the years, the Topeka team has shared the story of its biomass boiler system with schools and government agencies; agriculture and forestry-related groups; and many other businesses to help others as they look to meet their sustainability goals.

These photos show the system as it was being installed, and what it looks like today.

Topeka boiler


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