Wilson’s Country Ltd Invests £2 Million in Anaerobic Digestion System

Co. Armagh-based potato packer and processer, Wilson’s Country Ltd., is completing a £2 million investment programme in the development of an anaerobic digestion (AD) system. The new plant, located within the site of the existing business, will provide 60% of the company’s annual electricity requirements.

Utilizing Potato Waste as Feedstock

Wilson’s Country managing director, Lewis Cunningham, stated that the potato waste from the business will be used as the main feedstock for the AD operation. After two years of development, the establishment of an interconnector between the AD plant and the national grid was the final step in completing the project.

The new system is currently being gradually brought online and is expected to reach full operational capacity by the end of November.

Anaerobic Digestion and Carbon Footprint Reduction

The management team at Wilson’s Country emphasizes the significant role of the new AD operation in reducing the carbon footprint of the overall business. Company CEO, Angus Wilson, highlighted that they have been using certified ‘green electricity’ exclusively for the past couple of years, resulting in a 75% reduction in carbon intensity.

By generating a significant proportion of their green electricity on-site through AD, Wilson’s Country can further reduce their energy bill and make more efficient use of waste streams produced within the business. This investment contributes to the long-term sustainability of Wilson’s Country.

Generating Electricity and Heat

The process of anaerobic digestion involves the conversion of organic feedstock, such as potato waste, by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen into biogas and digestate. The biogas produced can be used to generate electricity and heat.

Given the large electricity requirement on-site for powering controlled temperature potato stores, processing, and packing operations, Wilson’s Country expects to have surplus electricity that can be exported to the grid. Additionally, a portion of the waste heat produced will be utilized to maintain the operational temperature of the AD system.

Wilson’s Country is also exploring options to maximize the use of residual heat from the AD process. Their commitment to achieving a carbon ‘net zero’ position in the coming years makes the investment in the new AD plant a critical step towards their sustainability goals.