ETF project - Staples Vegetables

Staples Vegetables  is one of the largest producers of vegetables in the U.K. Based near Boston in Lincolnshire the company supplies a number of major retailers, packers and processors from its farms located around the country.

The project plan is to build an anaerobic digester which will process out of specification and by-passed vegetables created by the existing vegetable harvesting and packaging process. Maize will also be grown on the farm to supplement the vegetable feedstock.

"The project will provide integrated power generation for our main site in Lincolnshire which gives us control not only over future pricing of power but also control over power security." - Staples Vegetables

Staples Vegetables The outputs of the plant will increase the sustainability of the farming and processing operation. The plant will produce electricity which will be used on site with the excess fed into the grid. The processed vegetable matter will replace fertiliser currently used and be applied to land using an existing irrigation network and spreading equipment.  The heat generated by the process will be innovatively used to chill processing areas through heat absorption coolers, which will reduce the amount of energy used by the business considerably.  Excess heat will be used to heat offices and staff buildings on the site.

The design and technical expertise is being provided by Danish based Xergi who will also be the main contractor for construction of the biogas project.

Staples have been assisted in developing the project by Lincoln based JHWalter who provide technical, planning, funding and project management advice across all renewable technologies.

The planning application, the first of its kind in the borough, is currently being considered and is a result of planning advice provided by Robert Doughty consultancy and aided with pre-application discussions with officers of the Borough Council, the Environment Agency and the Parish Council.

Project updates

Project build - October 2010

We are currently commissioning the feeding program for the digester.  We have imported 560 tonnes of seed digestate from another site and 480 tonnes cow slurry from a local farm.  This has been heated up to start the process and we are now starting a feeding program and testing our feeding systems. 

There have been no real issues to overcome just teething problems with timings of elevators and conveyers. 

The key focus for the next month is to increase the feeding program to produce enough gas to commission the CHP engine early in the new year.

Project build - July 2010

The pipework around the dosing modules, engine and boiler room are currently being installed.

The gas cleaning tower has now been installed and the recieving hoppers are due to be put into place.

The primary digester has now been fully insulated and clad to match the rest of the site meetings.


Project build - May 2010

The reception clamp walls have now been erected and concreted into place. The dosing modules have arrived and have been lifted into position inside the building. The primary digester has passed its pressure testing so now the outer cladding can been fitted.

The main tasks over the coming weeks are to complete the concrete floor area within the reception clamps and finish the outer cladding on the primary digester. We will also begin to fit out the engine building.


Project build - March 2010

Erection of primary and secondary digester's, along with the majority of the AD plant room have been completed along with the delivery to site of silage panels and water/condensate tanks. We have been working hard to provide the EA with extensive information regarding permitting.

Over the next month, we expect the arrival and installation within the plant building of Engine and exhaust system long with the Completion of silage clamp, water testing of primary and secondary digester and the installation of primary digester agitator. We are on target to begin commissioning in August 2010.


Project build - January 2010

Groundworks are progressing, the site has been levelled, top soil removed, hard core and land drains laid throughout and various services pipes and cables appear to be in place and some sumps and manholes have been constructed.

The building crew are also progressing , cutting pile caps having installed many of the piles required for the digester and erecting steel work for the site building.


Project build - December 2009