Hearts of Palm Division of Gruma Centroamerica received award for environmental innovation

Demasa Hearts of Palm Division, part of Gruma Central America, was recognized for its technological innovation practices in environmental matters. This award has enabled the company to be internationally noticed as a plant specialized in the production and marketing of palm with the most modern and environmentally friendly practices.

This award was received during the “Mission Buyer” or “Buyers Trade Mission” Awards (BTM Awards, for its acronym in English) which are given by the Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), in order to recognize and encourage innovation in the exporting.

On this occasion, Demasa Hearts of Palm Division merit was obtained thanks to its important environmental innovation, having implemented a new solar energy system for harnessing in the palm industrial plant, located in Pococí Guapiles.

“In Gruma Central America our agricultural and industrial production methods are in harmony with the environment. Besides minimizing the use of chemicals and continuously decrease the use of non-renewable fuels, we are implementing other very innovative practices that have allowed us harness solar energy and so implement it within our industry” said Jose Vinicio Arias, head of Research & Development of Hearts of Palm Division.

According to Arias, this project involves the use of solar energy to pre – heat the water used in cooking and pasteurization processes in the harvest of hearts of palm.

Technological invention in harmony with the environment
The work implemented in the plant includes about 25 solar collectors or panels, each consisting of 100 vacuum tube technology, which are more efficient because they capture solar radiation even during cloudy days.

The area covered by the panels is 500 m2 and this equipment allows to pre-heat the water entering the boiler, usually water now reaches about 70°C average temperature. “Before implementing the system, the water temperature was entering the boiler reached about 24°C maximum, the difference in temperature means direct savings in the amount of energy required for the production process of hearts of palm” said Arias.

No doubt this process has allowed the company to significantly reduce oil dependence, generating savings in bunker spending of 15%, in addition to reduce their carbon footprint by 486 tons of CO2 equivalent, helping to reduce the impact in the environment.

“This has been a major investment of over $130,000, though it can be recovered in just over a year, where the projection of expenditure savings of energy in our production can reach up to U.S. $110,000 less per year” Arias concluded.

Environmental practices are key within the business philosophy. Undoubtedly the industrial process improvement results in a significant increase in competitiveness, which benefits the operation of the business, consumers and the country in general. In this sense, Miguel Chavarria, director of marketing sub Gruma Central America, indicated that both innovation and productivity are key factors for success and commercial development of any company.

“For Gruma Central America, innovation and technological development are fundamental pillars of our operation, especially when these practices are sustainable and protect the environment, allowing us to contribute significantly in the development of local and international markets” said Chavarria.

All Gruma Central America plants are certified ISO 14001, ensuring the Environmental Management System. Furthermore, in the area of technology, projects are continuously being made in order to optimize processes and reduce water and energy consumption in our processes.

From: Revista SUMMA