TORONTO — SunOpta Inc. has begun an “environmentally responsible energy recovery project” at its Cambridge, Minn., oat fiber facility. As part of the project, SunOpta plans to extract methane from the digestion of waste-water resulting from the oat fiber production process and convert it to pipeline quality natural gas. The resulting energy will then be used to power the Cambridge facility.

SunOpta said the project, when completed, significantly will reduce the release of greenhouse gases and various waste materials from the facility as well as provide a return on invested capital of approximately $1 million.

“This initiative is consistent with SunOpta’s stated objective of reducing its environmental footprint and promoting sustainable business practices,” the company said.

Earlier this year, SunOpta received the Industrial Environmental Achievement Award from the Central States Water Environment Association for “outstanding contributions in waste minimization, pollution prevention, environmental compliance, and environmental stewardship” at its Cambridge facility. SunOpta’s Cambridge facility reduced water use by approximately 20 million gallons in a 12-month period, improved the water quality of its waste-water discharge, and achieved significant energy savings. MBN