Cargill is building a canola processing plant in Camrose, Alberta, Canada
The new facility will have an annual capacity to process 850,000t of canola. It will be the first plant to be built in Alberta after nearly 30 years and Cargill's second plant in Canada. The plant is expected to be operational in 2014.
The facility will process both conventional and specialty canola seeds to produce 1,500t per day of canola oil and 2,000t per day of canola meal animal feed. It will provide a number of opportunities for the agriculture sector in Alberta and serve as a competitive point of delivery for farmers.
The plant will also help in diversifying the agriculture sector and improve its competitiveness in the market. Canola growers located around a radius of 200km will supply canola seeds to the plant.
The project required the approval of a series of redistricting bylaws which were passed in December 2012. The approval paved the way for the construction of the facility. The project is expected to generate 50 full time jobs.
Reasons for choosing Camrose, Canada
Canada is one of the biggest canola growing regions in the world. In 2012-2013, more than 20 million acres of land were dedicated towards growing of canola. The increase in canola production was driven mainly by the increase in demand for canola oil and demand for canola meal from the US livestock industry. The quality of seed available in the Camrose region was also one of the reasons for choosing the site. In addition, the site provides good road and rail connectivity, being located between two major railways.
Design of Cargill's canola plant
The project will be located on a 129.4ha site, of which about 12ha will be occupied by the plant. Storm water ponds will occupy 1ha and an access road to Driedmeat Lake Road will occupy another 1ha of land. Another 7ha will be dedicated for a railyard and spur lines. The rail yard will be built to the west and north of the facility.
Canola seeds will be delivered to the plant by around 80 to 100 trucks every day. This number is expected to increase if the plant's capacity is expanded. Originally 135 to 165 trucks were expected to transport the canola seed, which was later reduced.
Processing canola at the Canadian plant
Canola seed arriving at the plant is first weighed, cleaned and dried. It is then preheated to approximately 80°C. The seed is then passed through a series of roller mills and conditioned in a cooker.
Oil is extracted from the seeds by using screw presses, also called as expellers. Extracted oil is then sent to a settling tank to allow entrained solids to settle and later decanted for clarification. Gums and fatty acids are removed and the oil is dried.
The pre-pressed solids leftover after extraction, also known as press cake, are washed by a series of solid-solvent washers in a shallow-bed extractor. The washers remove any remaining oil present in the press cake. The oil extracted is separated using a multistage distillation process, which produces oil containing less than 100ppm of residual hexane. The oil is degummed and dried.
The press cake or canola meal is sent to a desolventiser-toaster, which removes hexane by steam. The cake is also toasted to deactivate any enzymes present in it.
Extracted canola oil is transported offsite to the Clavet facility for further refining for food grade use. The canola meal is pressed into a palletised form to enable easy shipping.
Environmental impact concerns
Local residents have raised concerns regarding the construction of Cargill's canola plant. Concerns have been raised with regard to the waste water released from the plant containing high levels of hexane that is scheduled to be used for processing. Cargill, however, has assured that waste water will be tested before being released. Another concern is the use of water by the plant from the Ohaton Regional Water line. The plant is expected to use ten cubic metres of potable water per day. Locals have raised concerns of high water usage by the plant.