Birds Eye plant picks 3.3 MW Jenbacher CHP solution

A recently announced project to install gas-fired on-site combined heat and power (CHP) at a UK frozen food plant in eastern England will run a 3.3 MW Jenbacher gas engine.

Sized to fit the Lowestoft factory’s minimum electrical load of 3.5 MW, the ‘electricity-led’ project will also supply steam and hot water to the Birds Eye factory, said General Manager Craig Hamilton.

Birds Eye factory Lowestoft

‘The plant will always run at 100%,’ he told COSPP. ‘The project is very much aimed at minimizing national grid consumption, but we have a home for all the steam generated and about 50% of the hot water.’

Carbon emissions and costs provided ‘dual criteria’ for the project, he added. ‘Under the Forever Foods strategy, Birds Eye aims to cut emissions by 20% by 2020. This will do that in one fell swoop.’

Italy-based firm Grastim is installing the Jenbacher gas engine under a turnkey contract, said Project Manager Martin Pavitt.

The engine will have an 11 kV generator connected into our site ring and will generate 19 bar high-pressure steam, to be used in frying lines, as well as lower-grade heat, used mainly for sanitation, he said.

Birds Eye aims to bring the CHP system online by October and will request planning permission next week.

The CHP plant is the first cogeneration installation, funded by capital investment, in the Birds Eye Group since it was sold by Unilever to the private equity house Permira in 2006, said Hamilton, although a sister factory in Italy benefits from a CHP plant under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

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