Muntons, the UK malted ingredients company, is to invest £5.4m in an anaerobic digestion plant to treat liquid waste from its Stowmarket headquarters. 

The Suffolk-based firm will generate 25% of its base load electricity (500KWh) by treating waste streams from malt extract production at the new plant. Plans for this will be in action by summer 2015.

Muntons’ manufacturing and sustainability director, Dr Nigel Davies, explained that high solids liquid waste from Muntons’ plant will be anaerobically digested at the new plant - a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.

The process will produce a fertiliser substitute for spreading on local farms, cutting out the 3,000 tanker movements a year currently required to take sludge from the site. This saves around 340 tonnes in CO2 emissions from the lorries.

Davies said: “All of this sludge has come only from processing locally grown barley and our new AD plant will convert this into highly nutrient-rich fertiliser used to cultivate more locally grown barley – a really perfect example of local recycling.”

Ingredients manufacturer Muntons, is already the first maltings company to achieve ISO 50001 status for its state-of-the-art energy management systems.

Davies commented: “For us, investing in environmental projects has helped offset the rise in energy costs, one of the key operational costs of our business. Green is not boring; we want to open people’s eyes and get a message out to our supply chain that cutting your carbon footprint is not as complicated as it seems.”

Muntons’ investment was funded by RBS Invoice Finance and Lloyds Banking Group with a £42.1 million loan package, incorporating an additional £2.3m to support the anaerobic digestion project.

Anaerobic digestion has been used by the UK water industry and there are currently around 100 non-water industry anaerobic digesters in the UK producing bioenergy.