Ice cream manufacturer, Mackie’s of Scotland, is aiming to be one of the UK’s biggest, fully sustainable companies by installing a plant that will transform the slurry from its 400-strong herd of cows into biofuel to help power its Aberdeenshire plant.

The development of a 250KW anaerobic digestion (AD) facility at the company’s dairy farm in Westertown, Rothienorman, currently under consideration, would be the final element in making the firm entirely dependent on renewable energy.

Catle in a field

The company has teamed up with scientists at Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Business Programme (BBP) to devise plans for the plant that will use thousands of tonnes of slurry to generate methane biogas which can then be transformed into electricity.

It is estimated that using AD will help the firm to save up to £300,000 in fuel costs.

The company was an early adopter of renewable energy, introducing an 800kW wind turbine in 2005 to supply electricity to the farm and ice cream production, followed by an additional two 800kW turbines in 2007, which now supply 70 per cent of the firm’s energy needs and allow 62 per cent of their total output to be exported to the national grid.

A further 50kW of solar panels were added earlier this year to complement the wind turbines to reduce grid usage during daylight hours when Mackie’s power usage is at its highest.

The firm continues to take power from the grid when the wind isn’t blowing or when its consumption is higher than the output from its renewable sources and directors believe installing an AD plant will make this no longer necessary.

“Part of Mackie’s vision is to be the greenest company in Britain. We are always looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the environment,” says Gerry Stephens, Director of Finance for Mackie’s of Scotland.

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