Wyke Farms, one of the UK’s largest independent cheese producers and milk processor, today commissioned the second phase of its Bio Gas project which sees it send up to 7 million cu meters of its upgraded biogas back to the UK grid adding to the annual supply of certified green gas. The plant started producing Biogas in December 2014 and production has steadily been increasing through the year. Wyke Farms’ gas upgrading will save up to 15 million kgs of CO² per year and will provide 70 million units of certified Green Gas per year (one unit = 1kWh), enough for the heating and cooking needs of over 4,000 homes.
“As people who work closely with the land, we can see first-hand effects of climate change and I believe that we have a responsibility for the sake of future generations to be part of a low carbon solution to energy. ” said Richard Clothier, Managing Director and 3rd generation family member at Wyke Farms“Increasingly the shoppers that buy our cheddar across the world see green and sustainable as part of our corporate responsibility and expect us to do our bit.”
Wyke Farms generates its biogas from its own on-site anaerobic (AD) plant, which converts 75,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste from its farm and neighbours per year, into energy. The wastes include farmyard manure, slurry, dairy washings and apple pomace amongst other things. Each unit of green gas injected into the grid displaces a unit of conventional fossil-fuel gas, where it is then available to be bought by any businesses or consumers. Currently its biogas is used as energy to fuel the cheese dairy and saw the company become the UK’s first national cheddar brand to be 100% self-sufficient in its own green energy.
Molly Scott Cato – Green MEP for the area has visited the site said: “There are a host of innovative ways for generating sustainable energy in the South West. We don’t need dangerous nuclear or dirty fossil fuels. The team at Wyke Farms are leading the way in showing that we can generate energy by utilizing natural assets that are found on many farms and businesses in the region. There is still too much organic waste going to landfill and far too many south-facing roofs without solar panels. Wyke Farms are showing how waste can be diverted away from landfill and how south facing roofs can be used to their maximum potential.”
Wyke Farms worked with CNG Services to manage the connection from AD to the gas grid. John Baldwin, managing director from CNG Services, which specialises in biomethane to grid connections, says: “This project shows a highly sustainable way to process waste from the dairy industry. Using the gas grid allows renewable methane to be delivered to homes and utilised with very high efficiency for domestic heating. There is no doubt that Wyke make the most environmentally friendly cheese in the UK and we are proud to have supported this project.”
The AD project is part of ‘100% Green’, Wyke Farms’ sustainability initiative, which has seen the company also invest in solar arrays, water recovery, electronic delivery, packaging waste reduction as well as sharing knowledge and encouraging its suppliers to work in more sustainable ways.
The Wyke Farms gas is joining the Wales & West Utilities network (WWU), Chief Executive, Graham Edwards said: “Linking biomethane from Wyke Farms to our gas network is a positive step forward for Wales & West Utilities. The UK Government has set a target for the decarbonisation of heating, and in order to meet this we need to enable the injection of gas from renewable sources.”
Wyke Farms has been producing its award-winning cheddar for over a century and has grown to become one of the largest family-owned cheese makers in Britain selling over 13,000 tonnes annually.
Wyke Farms have 150 years of family farming experience. Wyke Farms’ cheese and butter is made with the milk from their cows grazing the lush pastures of the Mendip Hills in the centre of the Cheddar making region in Somerset.