Blog: Katy Askew2 Sisters' impressive waste-to-energy plan

Katy Askew | 5 December 2014

2 Sisters Food Group announced a new "multi million" pound bio-refinery deal with renewable energy experts H2 Energy this week. The plan is set to "transform the energy requirements" at 2 Sisters, the company said.

The possibility of converting waste to energy is something that the food industry is increasingly exploring. Nestle revealed that it has been using waste from chocolate production to power a factory in the UK for over a year last week. Smaller companies - the likes of Wyke Farms - have acted as trail blazers in the arena. But what is really notable - and commendable - from 2 Sisters is the size of its commitment.

The scale and ambition of the plan is impressive. 2 Sisters wants to install a waste-to-energy bio-refinery at all 43 of its UK locations.

Phase one of the project will see bio-refineries installed at ten sites over the next three years. When complete, phase one alone will deliver 40,000 MWh of electricity and 70,000 MWhth of thermal energy into 2 Sisters Food Group a year - equivalent to enough electricity to power a town with 10,000 homes.

According to conversion calculations from the Carbon Trust, the company will deliver annual savings of approximately 35,000 tonnes of carbon. 2 Sisters said this equates to around 10% of its carbon footprint, excluding transport.

Of course, it makes good business sense too. Reducing reliance on fossil fuel is something we all have to think about if we want life to continue as we know it. The threat of global warming and its potentially disastrous impact is mounting. Oil reserves will, one day, dry up. In the long-term finding a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is a necessity - not just for 2 Sisters, or for the food sector at large - but for us all.

In the medium-term too, the move should bring dividends. If 2 Sisters can support its own energy needs, the company is cutting out a significant input cost. Put simply, this move is a win-win for the company - and society at large.

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