Apr 22, 2016
Gills Onion converts waste into electricity

The international participants of the Onion Study Tour, organized by breeding company Hazera, visited onion processor Gills Onions on April 19. The Oxnard, California-based company produces no less than 500 tons of peeled and cut onion products for American retail, industry and food service.

Processing company Gills Onions originated from cultivation company Rio Farms in 1982. This cultivation company, with its 7,000 hectares of spinach, (romaine) lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper and tomato, belongs to the largest vegetable growers from ‘the West,’ according to a news release. The onion cultivation contains approximately 1,200 hectare with year-round cultivation in Fresno, Imperial, Kern and Monterey.

For years, the problem was onion waste, for more than thirty per cent of the colossal onions are not suitable for processing into the final product. The company of David and Steve Gill has found a solution to this. The onion juices released will be converted into electricity. The pulp is designated cattle feed, and due to the shortage of grass because of the drought in California, demand for that is large as well.

The peeling machines at the Gills Onions factory were supplied by Dofra/FTNON, and thus of Dutch origin.

“We provide the highest quality products, and ask a higher price than is common for our premium product,” founder and manager Steve Gill told the international study group.

As part of this strategy of minimising its CO2 footprint while at the same time guaranteeing safety and the highest quality, Gills Onions introduced the ambitious objective of ‘zero waste’ in 2009. Since then the onion juices from the waste are converted into biogas in the ‘Advanced Energy Recovery System’ for ultra-clean electricity that provides the factory in all of its electricity needs. This investment cost no less than 11 million dollars, the company said.


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