New lower carbon forklift trucks delivered

Posted: 22 February 2012
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Branston has found yet another way to reduce its environmental footprint at the Lincoln site, by investing in a fleet of new lower carbon forklift trucks. This week they took delivery of nine of the new forklift trucks, which not only use 20% less fuel than a traditional diesel truck, but produce around 60% less CO2. They will replace the rest of the Lincoln forklift fleet when the leases are up for renewal later this year.

The award-winning RX 70 hybrid forklift trucks work differently to conventional trucks in that they have two energy storage systems, as opposed to simply running from a fuel powered engine. One is simply the diesel storage tank, but the other is made up of high power double layer capacitors called ‘super caps'.

The super caps are located at the rear of the truck and are charged with the energy released whilst braking. When the truck accelerates, the energy stored is used to provide additional power, which gives it the power to drive without using excess fuel. As well as this, the diesel engine generates currents for the electric motor through a three-phase generator. The power electronics are used to link all the systems and to control the charging and discharging the energy store.

Andy Peacock, logistics & supply manager at Branston says: "The leases on our forklifts were coming to an end, and we knew we wanted to upgrade to something better. We wanted something that was not only more cost efficient, but also more environmentally-friendly. The RX70 is a hybrid of a traditional diesel engine and an electric motor. It has already won an industry award for its environmental benefits, and as a company, this is something that is very important to us. We are hoping to roll them out to our other sites in Scotland and the South West when their leases are up too."

This latest purchase is just one in a long line of environmental initiatives that Branston has embarked upon in order to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2008 Branston became the first UK food producer to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard, in recognition of its success in reducing its carbon intensity over a three-year period despite considerable business growth. Last year the company was once again awarded the standard after its fresh potato packing operations were certified, based on a reduction (relative to volume) of over 5%.

Branston also celebrated the first anniversary of its anaerobic digestion plant in 2011, which was commissioned in 2010 after identifying that outgrade potatoes and the waste generated in the production of prepared potato products could be used itself to help cut costs. This organic waste and the potatoes that have been graded out of the fresh potato packing factory are fed in to the AD plant and this generates around 40% of the total electricity requirements of the site.

The site also has a water recycling facility, where dirty water from both factories is recycled. It has resulted in a 60% reduction in mains water consumption and reduced the quantity and improved the quality of effluent leaving the site.

Vee Gururajan, projects director at Branston: "At Branston, we are constantly looking ways to improve our environmental performance and the new forklift trucks are another big step in helping to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. Any new developments undertaken or products purchased are always done so with sustainability in mind, so that means looking at both environmental and financial aspects. When you take a long-term business view low carbon is low cost and we see these trucks as another big step in minimising our energy consumption while we continue to grow our business."