Potato power: 2 Sisters starts up ‘world-first’ plant

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

A new bio-refinery generates energy and steam to help power a food factory in Carlisle
A new bio-refinery generates energy and steam to help power a food factory in Carlisle

Related tags: Anaerobic digestion

2 Sisters Food Group has started up the ‘world’s first’ potato-powered energy plant to turn mashed potato and other factory waste into energy, it claimed. 

The four-storey bio-refinery generates energy and steam to help power the manufacturer’s chilled food factory in Carlisle which mainly supplies Marks & Spencer. 

2 Sisters said the bio-refinery will produce 3,500 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power about 850 homes a year, and 5,000 MWh per year in steam. 

2 Sisters group sustainability director Andrew Edlin said: “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. 

‘10 further energy plants’ 

“We are looking to use this system to open up to 10 further energy plants at other 2 Sisters factories over the coming three years, using potato and other food waste to generate energy and steam.”

The bio-refinery uses anaerobic digestion processes powered by potato waste from the plant’s mashed potato and pie production lines.

Any waste left over from bio-refining can be reused as fertiliser, which will help 2 Sisters in its bid to eliminate landfill waste by 2017, it said.  

After the 10 installations already in the pipeline, waste-power plants could be rolled out to the rest of the 43 factories owned by 2 Sisters. 

The bio-refineries will be run by renewable energy expert H2 Energy in partnership with the food manufacturer.

Sustainability plan launch

2 Sisters has also launched a sustainability plan, Feeding Our Future, which includes targets on food waste, water supply and carbon footprint reduction. 

“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,”​ Edlin said.  

“These issues affect all our people, partners and businesses, and to ensure our continued success we must face these new challenges.”

View from 2 sisters

“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.”

  • Andrew Edlin, group sustainability director at 2 Sisters

Related topics: Manufacturing

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