The sky’s the limit for Branston’s green ambition

Posted: 24 March 2012
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Branston is saving even more energy, thanks to newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the coldstore roof at their Lincoln site.

The company has had 638 solar PV panels fitted to the south-facing roof of its coldstore at the Lincoln site, which can house up to 11,000 tonnes of potatoes at any one time. The panels will produce 149 kW peak, which will equate to around 111 mWh per annum.

This latest initiative is part of Branston's ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and the continuing investment it makes in its sites to reduce energy consumption.

Vee Gururajan, projects director at Branston says: "We have a large south-facing roof on our coldstore that's perfect for catching the sun. And although it's one of the most efficient coldstores around it does require substantial amounts of electricity. Energy use is higher during the warmer summer months, when we need to keep the potatoes cool, so it made perfect sense to try and reduce our energy costs here.

"Annually, we anticipate that we will save around 10% on the coldstore's energy consumption, which equates to a 5% reduction in carbon overall."

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. Only last month, the Lincoln site purchased a fleet of low carbon forklift trucks, which not only use 20% less fuel than a traditional diesel truck, but produce around 60% less CO2.

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.