Aug 22, 2011 • By

General Mills earns accolades from the GMA

Did you know that oat hulls have nearly the same energy potential as coal? Or that the milling process to make Cheerios leaves behind roughly 80,000 tons of oat hulls each year?

Combine these two fun facts, and you’ve got the basic insights that drove the award-winning biomass burner project at General Mills’ Fridley, Minn., facility.

The company received national recognition for this project today from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and its Associate Member Council. General Mills Chairman and CEO, Ken Powell, accepted GMA’s “CPG Award for Innovation and Creativity” on behalf of the company at GMA’s annual Executive Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The hidden power of Cheerios

The company’s decades-long production of Cheerios entered a new chapter in January 2011 with the startup of General Mills’ first biomass-powered plant in Fridley. A biomass unit at the plant burns leftover oat hulls to produce more than 90 percent of the steam needed to heat the plant and produce the oat flour used in making Cheerios.

It has also reduced the plant’s carbon footprint by 21 percent and creates an ash that is distributed to local farmers who use it as a nutrient supplement to improve soil on agricultural land.

To learn more, check out this video of how General Mills has tapped into the hidden power of oats.

Congratulations to all of the employees who passionately championed this project and took it from an idea and turned it into a reality.