Edina won the Industrial Project of the Decade Award at the Association for Decentralised Energy's Awards Dinner on the 19th October 2017 for its work with R&R Ice Cream helping to improve the security of their energy supply.
Home to famous brands including Kelly’s Ice Cream and Fab Lollies, R&R Ice Cream installed two MWM TCG 2020 V20 natural gas engines at their production facility plant based in Northallerton, North Yorkshire as part of their expansion aspirations. Due to the restrictions on the amount of electricity that was available to be imported, R&R Ice Cream decided in early 2012 to consider the installation of a CHP plant to provide greater independence from the national grid supply.
The installed CHP plant has helped increase their production capacity by 20%, and the £2 million investment in CHP technology is estimated to be repaid in just over three years.
The CHP plant will save R&R Ice Cream an estimated £440,000 per year on its energy bill, reduce CO2 emissions by 4,800 tonnes per year and provide an overall CHP engine efficiency of 86.9%.
Converting factory waste to biogas
Some of the on-site waste is converted into renewable energy at a nearby anaerobic digestion plant where approximately 30,000 tonnes of waste will go annually to the AD plant to produce biomethene, with the rest being spread on agricultural land.
Following an innovative project, the inedible by-product of chocolate ice cream can be turned into biogas and sold to the electricity grid. The sugary sludge consisting of sugar, fat and protein that is left behind after production line cleansing, is then fed to a nearby anaerobic digestion facility. The biogas produced is then sold to the electricity grid to provide power to UK homes.
It transpires that chocolate ice cream provides 10% more energy than vanilla, and 20% more energy than strawberry. And if you were to add a chocolate flake to the mix it could boost the energy efficiency by 20%.
Installing the CHP plant has led to significant savings in energy costs and more production has also meant that the capacity of the on-site effluent treatment plant has been increased from 600,000 litres to 1.5 million litres per a day. The plant uses reverse osmosis – a separating method where very high pressures of around 80 bar force a solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Clean water passes through the membrane and is then re-cycled back to the factory whilst the waste is retained.
From early 2016 around 30,000 tonnes of this waste annually – some two-thirds of the total – will be taken to a nearby anaerobic digester, owned by Leeming Biogas Ltd. The ice cream waste will be used to produce biomethane which will be fed directly into the local gas network which in turn supplies R&R with gas for their CHP. The remaining waste will be used to enhance local agricultural land.
This project is a prime example of using creative thinking to turn waste into green energy. It’s innovation like this that is needed to ensure the UK meets the Government’s 2020 targets, and something we’re hoping to build on.
The CHP installation has maintained a security of power supply, which otherwise, would have resulted in loss of production and sales for R&R Ice Cream. Security of power supply is a key feature of the installation. Prior to the installation of CHP the site was at its maximum imported power supply and had regularly suffered power outages, halting production and negatively impacting sales and growth.