SC Johnson Powers Packaging Plant with Co-Generation

SC Johnson Powers Packaging Plant with Co-Generation

SC Johnson has flipped the switch on a new 3.2 megawatt gas turbine/generator at its Waxdale manufacturing plant.

The natural gas-powered turbine is the second of two now operating at the company's largest manufacturing facility -- a 2.2 million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Racine, Wis. Completion of the second co-generation system makes the consumer goods packaging plant the first in the U.S. Midwest to produce a nearly all of its own energy through clean-burning technologies.

Generating a total of 6.4 megawatts of electrical power, the two turbines meet the facility's daily base-load electrical demand while recovered heat from the turbines' exhaust also produces nearly 40,000 pounds per hour of plant steam. The twin turbines are fueled by natural gas and by waste methane generated by the Kestrel Hawk Landfill located near the Waxdale facility. As a result, the turbines have significantly reduced SC Johnson’s usage of heavily-coal dependent electricity along with emissions of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases and other pollutants in Southeastern Wisconsin.

"We have a long, proud history of firsts when it comes to harnessing technology and innovation to do what’s right for the environment while managing a very successful business," said SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson. "This latest achievement at our Waxdale plant is particularly rewarding in light of the construction of two coal-fired plants in Oak Creek, Wisconsin."

SC Johnson embarked on the co-generation plan in 2003 with the startup of the first turbine, powered solely by waste methane. After its first year of operation, Waxdale’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) dropped 47% and fossil fuel energy use was slashed by 50%. In recognition of this performance, the State of Wisconsin awarded SC Johnson the Wisconsin Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Performance.

"The second turbine will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 20,000 tons per year, bringing total emissions reductions from the co-generation system to 52,000 tons per year," said Scott Johnson, SC Johnson Vice President of Global Environmental and Safety Actions. “That’s equivalent to the amount of GHGs generated by 5,200 automobiles annually.”

Johnson added that by powering the turbines with natural gas and waste methane, “We’re removing the equivalent to 298 rail cars of coal from the Southeastern Wisconsin environment.”