McCain invests in wind turbines for chip plant

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Water

In a sign that the UK's push to cut down on greenhouse gas
emissions is working, McCain Foods has announced it will install
wind turbines at its potato chip plant in the country.

The company said this week the three, 80-metre high wind turbines at its Whittlesey plant will lower its energy bill for the site by up to 60 per cent.

The company said the £10m investment is part of a drive to lower the amount of its CO2 emissions and the impact of its operations on the environment.

The Whittlesey plant is the largest chip making plant in the UK.

The 80 metre high turbines, will be the highest ever on shore in England, and will power the entire site at certain times of the year, providing up to 60 per cent of the annual electrical power required to operate the plant.

The turbines can produce three mega watts of electricity each, the most powerful currently in use in the UK, said Bill Bartlett, McCain's corporate affairs director.

When the plant is not operating, unused electricity will be sold on to the national grid.

"This is a significant investment from McCain and we are particularly proud to be the first major food manufacturer to use alternative energy on this scale," he stated.

"These turbines will reduce energy bills by up to 60 per cent and will enable us to ensure the competitive sustainability of the plant.

More significantly, it demonstrates that a large scale manufacturing plant can operate efficiently while significantly reducing its carbon footprint."

McCain plans to have the turbines will be erected and operational in November 2007.

The installation of the wind turbines are part of the steps McCain is taking to cut down on its environmental impact across all its UK plants.

The steps include a planned investment in a combined heat and power facility at the Whittlesey plant which will run on a renewable energy supply generated by biogas from an on-site waste water treatment plant digester.

The company is tackling the issue of food miles by only using potatoes grown in the UK.

All potatoes are sourced as close to the factories as possible, the company stated.

McCain also bought some double deck delivery vehicles, in a bid to reduce road miles by 20 per cent.

McCain has recently invested in heat recovery systems at its Scarborough site.

The systems recover waste heat from the fryers and uses the energy to heat water used in the preparation process.

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