The authorities of the Portuguese archipelago are interested in setting up a similar plant.

A numerous delegation of the government of the Azores islands, composed by politicians and livestock farmers and headed by the general director of the archipelago’s Rural Development, Joaquim Mario Grilo Pires, yesterday visited the facilities of the Xestora de Subproductos de Galicia (Gesuga), in the place of Areosa, in the Cerceda parish of Queixas.

Accompanied by the manager of the company, Ramón Devesa, the Portuguese visitors went all over the plant and knew first hand the management system of meat by-products that is carried out in Galicia, as the visitors’ aim is to start a similar plan in the Azores island, where carcasses and animal remains are buried in dumps.

Guided by Devesa, the Portuguese delegation checked the way the collection system operates (52 lorries daily circulating throughout Galicia, transporting between 700 and 800 animals) and what is the treatment given to the more than 140.000 kg that each day arrive at the plant in Cerceda. At the Areosa facilities, the cattle deceased at livestock farms from unknown causes and the residues from slaughter houses cutting areas that are not useful as food are destroyed with all safety guarantees.

Cement and fuel

At the plant, that operates 24 hours a day, residues are transformed into energy and a paste that later on is collected and used by cement plants. Once the animal enters the plant, residues are submitted to a session of boiling, pressing and dehydration that eliminate the risk of those residues ending up making part of an inadequate feeding of other cows, the main risk of transmission of a prion causing the mad cow disease.

From this pressed mass, shapeless and useless, two completely usable ones are obtained. Water is sent to a purifying plant to eliminate all possible polluting residues. Fat, 80 tons a day, is converted into biofuel energy that feeds Gesuga plant itself.

Finally, the flour resulting from the boiling and pressing of meat and bones is loaded onto lorries of cement plants that weekly are provisioned in Cerceda with prime material to create construction mass.

Gesuga’s system caused a pleasing impression among the components of the delegation from the Azores islands and the general director of the archipelago’s Rural Development assured that “it is a very useful environmental project and it made clear to us that it solves the big problems that are provoked by farming and livestock residues, it is a very clean system and it has  great energy exploitation”. In his opinion, although meat production is not so high as in Galicia, Gesuga’s method would be perfectly exportable to the islands. “In our case,  cows are buried, or in the best of cases, the problem of residues is solved via incineration, an energy process much more expensive and in which there is no exploitation as the one we have seen here”, assured Joaquim Pires, who concluded that the visit to Cerceda had resulted “very interesting”.