Stowmarket: Malt firm invests £5.4m in AD plant to take waste

Groundworks for the new anaerobic digestion plant being built at Muntons' Stowmarket site Groundworks for the new anaerobic digestion plant being built at Muntons' Stowmarket site

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
6:00 AM

A malted ingredients company which champions sustainable manufacturing is investing £5.4million in an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant to treat its liquid waste.

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Muntons will use the trailblazing facility, which will be operational by summer 2015, to generate up to 25% of its base load electricity by treating waste streams from malt extract production at its Stowmarket headquarters.

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 (ABL) package incorporating an additional £2.3m to support the anaerobic digestion project.

Ingredients manufacturer Muntons, is already the first maltings company to achieve ISO 50001 status for its state of the art energy management systems, only one of a handful to have the certification in the food industry as a whole.

The plant will enable high solids liquid waste from Muntons’ malted ingredients factory to be taken through a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.

The 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 - saving around 340 tonnes in CO2 emissions from the lorries.

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 nutrient-rich fertiliser used to cultivate more locally grown barley – a really perfect example of local recycling.”

The new plant will generate biogas that will power a Combined Heat and Power unit providing 500KWh of electricity, around a quarter of Muntons’ base load requirement.

Finance director, Steve Bluff said: “It has been hard work to get the funding off the ground with the assets of the project making it difficult using normal views of security.

“However, with the significant support of B2B Consulting and the specialist and straightforward approach of Investec, we began to find a way to route forward. This, together with the huge support of our main lenders RBS/Lloyds, who have continued to want to invest in green initiatives and been very supportive throughout, has enabled us to put all the necessary funding in place.”

“Key to finding a solution was running large scale trials on potential equipment to prove it had the capability to deliver the results required to meet the payback criteria, the lenders gaining a thorough understanding of our business model and the enthusiasm for the project within Muntons.”

Muntons has enlisted in the Government’s Feed-In Tariffs scheme for the project, which means that it can be paid for the electricity it generates, even though it uses it itself, with the government favouring local generation and local use over export to the grid to alleviate increasing demand for grid electricity.

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