Mataura Valley Milk will soon become the first electric-powered milk powder factory in the country.

Earlier this month, the Gore company’s new electrode boiler was unloaded by crane and lowered through the roof of the building to where it will be installed.

The 21-tonne boiler, which was made in China, is New Zealand’s first high-pressure electrode boiler and will replace the existing coalfired boiler.

Its installation is expected to be completed in about three months, and commissioning is planned for October.

Once the boiler is operational the facility will be fully electrified, eliminating carbon emissions involved in powering the plant.

Carbon emissions will be reduced by about 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Mataura Valley Milk (MVM) is 75% owned by The a2 Milk Company and the China Animal Husbandry Group owns the balance.

MVM interim general manager John Roberts said the company was setting a benchmark for the industry.

‘‘We will be the first electrically powered renewable milk powder factory.’’

There were other factories using renewable wood chip power, he said.

The delivery of the boiler was a major milestone for the company.

Up and away. . . Mataura Valley Milk’s new electrode boiler is lifted by a crane so it can be lowered through the roof of the building where it will be sited. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

‘‘While we still have some way to go in the project, this is a good time to acknowledge the efforts of our internal team and external partners in getting us to this point.’’

The coal-fired boiler was only six years old and would be kept as a back-up power source.

The project has been approved for $5 million in cofunding from the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

The decarbonisation project received the Environment Southland councillors’ special award at the regional council’s 2022 community awards.