28 September 2015
2 Sisters Food Group, one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers, is today starting-up a potato-powered energy plant as a first step in a new sustainability plan which aims to generate 35,000 tonnes of carbon savings a year and slash the Group’s carbon footprint by 20% by 2018.
The new bio-refinery at 2 Sisters’ Cavaghan and Gray chilled food factory in Carlisle is the first waste-powered plant of its kind in the world to be used in food manufacturing. It uses four patented anaerobic digestion processes which are linked to extract gas. When fully operational it will produce 3,500 MWh/year in electricity, equivalent to the average annual electricity use of around 850 UK homes, and generate around 5,000 MWh/year in steam.
The energy and steam will be used to help power the Carlisle factory and slash its carbon footprint as the first step in an energy transformation project which will see bio-refineries developed at up to ten 2 Sisters factories over the coming three years. Following these initial installations, the energy-from waste plants could be installed at all 43 factories owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group.
The four-storey-high bio-refinery at Carlisle will be powered using potato waste arising from the plant’s mashed potato and pie manufacturing lines. Diverting this waste to power production will help 2 Sisters meet its goal of ensuring zero-waste to landfill by 2017. The residual waste left after the bio-refining process has been completed can also be re-used as fertiliser – completing a circular journey that could take it back to one of 2 Sisters’ 700-farms and away from landfill.
The bio-refineries are part of an ambitious three-year sustainability plan Feeding Our Future that 2 Sisters has launched to ensure it cuts its carbon footprint by 20% by 2018.
When all the bio-refineries are installed the group expects to make 35,000 tonnes of carbon savings a year. It will also cut 20,000 lorry journeys that would have been used in removing waste which will now be re-processed to generate energy.
The bio-refineries are being run by renewable energy expert H2 Energy in partnership with 2 Sisters Food Group.
Andrew Edlin, group sustainability director for 2 Sisters Food Group stated: “As one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers the 2 Sisters Food Group has a responsibility for protecting the environment and ensuring we take a leadership role as a responsible corporate citizen. The launch of the Feeding Our Future sustainability plan sets out clear goals for achieving this.
“The bio-refinery is a world-first for the food industry, using a new type of super-efficient technology to generate energy from potato waste. We are looking to use this system to open up to ten further energy plants at other 2 Sisters factories over the coming 3 years, using potato and other food waste to generate energy and steam.”
Feeding Our Future, key targets: The Feeding Our Future sustainability plan sets out publically available targets for 2 Sisters in four core areas: environment; people; economic success and sustainable raw materials.
In addition to cutting the carbon footprint of the business, the plan aims to ensure 2 Sisters meets challenging targets in community and supplier relations and in developing and managing its people.
Among the targets 2 Sisters has set in the Feeding Our Future Sustainability Plan is a commitment to: • Cut food waste by 5% year-on-year • Zero waste to landfill • Cut water use by more than 8% • Achieve a 20% carbon footprint reduction across the Group • Initiate a company-wide youth employment strategy • Achieve zero complaints from local communities • Raise at least £7 per employee / year for charity
The Feeding Our Future plan is available on the 2 Sisters Food Group website and the group will report back on its success meeting core targets, including opening further bio-refineries.
Andrew Edlin concludes: “We live in a world affected by a perfect storm of population growth, resource depletion, rising energy costs, financial pressure on communities and unprecedented demands on land use and availability. These issues affect all our people, partners and businesses, and to ensure our continued success we must face these new challenges. That is what we intend to do through the launch of the Feeding Our Future plan.”