The firm will generate up to 25% of its base load electricity by treating waste streams from malt extract production at the Suffolk plant, which will be operational by summer 2015.
It will produce biogas that will power a combined heat and power unit providing 500kWh of electricity.
The waste from Muntons’ malted ingredients factory will be anaerobically digested at the new plant – a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.
This process will produce a fertiliser substitute for spreading on local farms, cutting out the 3,000 tanker movements a year currently required to take sludge from the site, the firm claimed. That would save about 340t in greenhouse gas emissions from the lorries, it said.
Muntons’ manufacturing and sustainability director, Dr Nigel Davies, said: “All of this sludge has come only from processing locally-grown barley and our new AD plant will convert this into highly phosphorus-rich fertiliser used to cultivate more locally grown barley – a really perfect example of local recycling.”
Muntons joined in the government’s ‘Feed-In Tariff’ scheme for the project. This means the firm will be paid for the electricity it generates, even though it uses it itself, with the government favouring local generation and use over exporting the energy to the UK grid.
“For us, investing in environmental projects has helped offset the rise in energy costs, one of the key operational costs of our business,” claimed Davies. “Green is not boring. We want to open people’s eyes and get a message out to our supply chain that cutting your carbon footprint is not as complicated as it seems.”
The AD plant was selected after “extensive” trials on pilot plants over many months, the firm’s environmental manager, Mick Cochrane, said: “It is being constructed to generate a significant amount of our electricity use on site which is vital when we hear of potential electric shortages in the winter months. It is designed also to de-risk our business by providing high-spec wastewater treatment.”
A funding package to support Muntons’ investment has been structured with RBS Invoice Finance and Lloyds Banking Group with a £42.1M asset based lending package incorporating an additional £2.3M to support the AD project.
The company has achieved ISO 50001 status for its modern energy management systems, only one of a handful to have the certification in the food industry as a whole, Muntons claimed.
Meanwhile, agri-business Olam International saved 14.1% on electricity and over 203t on carbon emissions last year.
The firm made the savings after installing a voltage optimisation system from Powerstar at its facility in Goole, Lincolnshire.
Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Group is staging a free, one-hour online seminar on the new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) at 11am GMT on Thursday September 18.
Staged in partnership with energy efficiency specialist JRP Solutions, the webinar will provide the latest advice on how to comply with the new mandatory legislation and how to make savings for your food and drink manufacturing business.
Taking part in the webinar will be representatives from government, the Food and Drink Federation and JRP Solutions.
For more information and to book, click here.