Holton: Bernard Matthews plans �4m biogas plant

TURKEY giant Bernard Matthews has unveiled a �4million project to convert waste into biogas at its Suffolk factory which it hopes will save energy and reduce the number of lorries going into the facility.

The firm has teamed up with Glendale Power for a renewable power project at the site in Holton, near Halesworth, which it hopes will supply 13% of its electricity and 10% of its heat.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Waveney District Council in the coming weeks, and if approved the firm hopes the facility, which will be funded by venture capital, will be up and running by April 2013 with work likely to start next year.

The proposal would see the construction of an anaerobic digestion facility which would treat 28,000 tonnes of liquid waste including blood fluids and fat and see it converted into gas which can be turned into electricity.

The digester will be connected, by pipeline, to the existing on site effluent treatment system, and the liquid waste will then be converted into a methane rich gas, which will be piped back into the factory to power an engine connected to a generator.

Electricity produced will be fed into the factory power grid and heat recovered from the cooling system and exhaust will be used to heat water.

Spent “fuel”, which will be largely water, will be returned to the on site effluent treatment system to be cleaned up and discharged.

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Richard Smithgate, group procurement director at Bernard Matthews Foods, said the facility would consist of three towers which would be integrated into the existing factory.

“This ensures that we treat our own waste rather than have it treated by a third party,” he said. “We want to become more self-sufficient and all energy will be used on the site and none of it will be exported.”

Around 60% of the factories traffic is linked associated with waste and Mr Smithgate said the proposal would removed more than 1,200 lorry trips in and out of the site.

He also said the process involved would not be open to the air and that would mean no odours would be emitted from the facility.

“It will be like a soup,” he added. “It will sit in the cylinders for about 35 days and that process will generate the gas to produce the electricity.

“We hope to get a positive reaction because we are taking 1,200 vehicles off the road and we hope that will enhance the community.

Rob Mears, UK managing director at Bernard Matthews Foods, said: “This is an important development for Bernard Matthews and the local community.

“It will not only reduce our carbon footprint and help create a sustainable, constant, environmentally-friendly source of power for the factory, but it will also provide significant environmental benefits to the local community and help strengthen our long term competitive position for the site.”