Lake District Biogas - Delivering sustainable energy for First Milk’s award winning creamery

Lake District Biogas - Delivering sustainable energy for First Milk’s award winning creamery

First Milk, Clearfleau and Renewables Unlimited today announce completion of the initial construction stage of an innovative anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at the creamery.

The partnership will convert the creamery's whey permeate into bio-methane for use by the factory and the local gas grid network. The new facility will be operational in early 2016 and will be the largest on-site AD plant in the dairy sector in the UK and Europe.

Key benefits of this exciting renewable energy project are:

Economic benefits; for both the creamery and its farmer owners

  • 25% reduction in the site's annual energy costs
  • Price stability for the site's power supply - 40 million kWh per annum

Environmental benefits;

  • Replacing fossil fuels and removing 7,000 tonnes of carbon annually from the supply chain
  • Clean water discharge; removing phosphates and greatly reducing bio-oxygen demand

Community benefits;

  • Helping to secure over 100 local jobs that are vital to the local area
  • Eliminating hundreds of lorry journeys with all whey permeate being recycled on-site

Chris Gooderham, First Milk's Business Development Director commented:

"This new facility is an example of how we are continuing to progress our turnaround plan, by saving costs and improving the operational efficiency of every corner of the business.

"By utilising the very best technology from Clearfleau, First Milk will reduce the cost of handling the creamery's production residues, while generating renewable energy for use on site. Therefore the new AD plant is more efficient, produces much lower greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reducing off-site transport of residues and making better use of the whey permeate.

"Funding has been secured and the budget will be managed by Renewables Unlimited. This will be the first plant on a dairy processing site to feed bio-methane to the grid, which will then be used to run the factory and as well supply local users."

Craig Chapman, CEO of Clearfleau Limited added:

"This is a major development for the Lake District Biogas partnership (First Milk, Clearfleau and Renewables Unlimited). The project will generate biogas solely from cheese production residues, using advanced British technology. It is a very positive move by First Milk to future proof their award winning creamery operations by generating a significant proportion of their site's future energy needs."

- ENDS -

About the Project Partners

Clearfleau's award-winning innovative design sets it apart from other high-rate digestion technologies.   This anaerobic digestion process treats fatty materials in a system designed for liquid residues, diverting them away from sewer discharge to produce biogas for conversion into green energy, with digestate nutrients used for crop fertilisation.
Lake District Biogas is a development company set up to facilitate the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the on-site AD plant at the Aspatria site.  The company has raised  external finance to fund the project and will supply an on-going service to the First Milk site, working with Clearfleau and other specialist technology suppliers.
Renewables Unlimited LLP advises organisations in the public and private sector on how to make the most of opportunities in the renewable energy market.  Its clients develop and construct a range of renewable energy projects with their support.  The company is involved in the Aspatria project as an adviser and project manager.
First Milk is the UK's only major dairy company, 100% owned by British farmers.  It supplies a wide range of dairy products and dairy ingredients to customers in both national and international markets including block cheeses, soft cheeses, raw milk, butter, skimmed milk powder, whey proteins and sports nutrition brands. It is headquartered in Glasgow with seven manufacturing sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

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