British anaerobic digestion (AD) company Clearfleau has finished the first stage in a project for First Milk, one of the UK’s largest cheese makers. Once operational, the First Milk AD plant will feed bio-methane into the gas grid – the first dairy processing site in Europe to do so.
Lake District Biogas (LDB), a company set up to manage the project for First Milk, has commissioned Clearfleau to design, build and operate the bio-energy plant. When operational, Clearfleau’s technology will reduce residual sludge management costs, while generating renewable energy for use on site.
Revenue benefits will include 20-year, index-linked, government-backed incentive (FiT and RHI) payments. When commissioned, the digesters will generate 1000m3/day of biogas, much of which will be upgraded for injection into the national grid. Some bio-methane will be used in the creamery for steam generation, reducing net purchase of fossil fuels, while the rest of the gas will be consumed by local users.
The feedstock from the creamery site comprises low-strength wash waters such as process rinses, supplemented by whey permeate (cheese production residue after protein extraction for use in energy supplements). This will be pumped to the AD plant from the creamery.
The integrated on-site AD plant will take over from the existing aerobic plant in early 2016 and will treat the creamery’s wastewater output as well as its whey permeate.