SENIOR executives from the Henderson Group have visited Ballyrashane Creamery, which supplies its SPAR and VIVO own brand milk, to see first-hand the progress being made on a ground-breaking new ‘green energy’ project being developed by the province’s oldest dairy.
The project, which will utilise the latest sustainable technology to generate renewable energy from organic dairy production waste, will transform the Coleraine dairy’s business and provide income streams for local farmers.
Ballyrashane Creamery’s Chief Executive, Nigel Kemps, said the investment will not only help to secure local jobs, but will also reduce annual carbon emission by more than 3,000 tonnes.
“This is a tremendously exciting project, which will radically reduce our energy costs as well as generating sufficient electricity to run the entire Ballyrashane facility, whilst enabling our processing operation to run completely carbon free,” he said.
The project has been designed by the Ballyrashane Creamery Energy Team, headed by Ian Campbell (Operations and Environmental Manager), with analysis and detailed design undertaken by the Carbon Trust Northern Ireland.
Mr Kemps explained: “Since the receipt of our planning approval, work has been progressing well.Once our equipment has been fully commissioned we envisage being in a position to achieving maximum energy output by the end of May.
“We are delighted to be the first dairy company in Northern Ireland to invest in this exciting technology. This is a proven process that has worked very successfully in other parts of the world.
“The Carbon Trust identified the project as unique to the sector given the co-operation between the dairy and local farmers. It demonstrates an innovative approach to cutting costs, reliance on fossil fuels and our carbon footprint.
The Carbon Trust has assisted us with the project from the start, carrying out an initial feasibility study to prove the concept.”
Nigel Dugan, from the Henderson Group, which is one of Ballyrashane’s largest customers, paid tribute to the company.
“We were highly impressed by the new system. As award-winning champions of eco-technology, the Henderson Group has in recent years been very progressive and open towards integrating new eco-friendly systems into our stores and warehouse facilities.
WAs one of our longest serving suppliers, Ballyrashane has demonstrated a great proactive and innovative approach to reducing its carbon footprint. It will not only give our supply chain greener credentials, but will also help to achieve a positive impact on the local community.”
Ballyrashane Co-op was founded in 1896 and is an integral part of its local rural community. It is a significant processor of milk and cream and its products are sold worldwide.
Ballyrashane produces milk for the Henderson Group, Marks & Spencer and also for its own Ballyrashane brand label. As a major manufacturer of butter in Northern Ireland, its butter is sold globally as well as locally to retail outlets. In recent years the company has been developing specialty cheeses.
The company has also recently announced its plan to buy milk direct from farmers from January 2013. This decision, together with its recent investment in the ‘green energy’ project, demonstrates Ballyrashane’s commitment to the future in satisfying its customers and shareholders.