Graham’s investment in bioenergy a ‘first for Scottish dairy industry’

Innovative zero-carbon plans for a Fife dairy announced as part of the wider Scottish Government Energy Strategy are a first for Scotland’s dairy industry.

Graham’s The Family Dairy has submitted plans to Fife Council proposing a low carbon heat project for their cheese production facility at the Glenfield Industrial estate in Cowdenbeath.

The proposed plant is set to generate and distribute bioenergy for onsite heat and power and will position Fife at the forefront of innovative decarbonisation solutions for the food and drink sector.

The aim is to complete the project by the spring of 2021.

The low carbon effluent treatment plant will take waste whey – a by-product of cheesemaking – and use it to produce green heat and electricity, that will be used on the site through a closed pipe network.

The proposed development will generate enough renewable power to deliver:

  • 80% of the site’s baseload electricity;
  • 50% of peak electric load;
  • 50% of boiler gas supply;
  • 20% reduction in vehicle and traffic flow to and from the site;
  • 50% reduction in effluent disposal, a saving of 62.94 kgCO2e/h.

The innovative plans are in response to the challenges set out by the Scottish Government in its Energy Strategy and the drive within the dairy sector to transition to zero-carbon operational processes.

The project forms part of the flagship Low Carbon Innovation Transition Programme (LCITP) for Heat and Industry and was awarded grant support in 2020 to deliver the proposed development alongside a Skills Development and Information Exchange to support Fife’s Clean Growth Agenda.

Robert Graham, managing director, Graham’s The Family Dairy, said: “Building a sustainable environment for our next generation is incredibly important to our family. We are actively working to achieve net-zero carbon across every area of our business.

“The dairy sector has the potential to lead in the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, particularly within the areas of heat and transport.

Our plans for the Glenfield dairy in Cowdenbeath will mark a step-change in investment within the dairy sector in zero-carbon innovation, infrastructure and skills development to accelerate climate adaptation within the industry.

“This builds on our recent investment in a 15MW solar park on our farmland in the Carse of Stirling as we move our business, at speed and scale, to decarbonise.”

Through consultation with Fife Council, extensive environmental analysis has been undertaken to inform the design, siting, layout and mitigation measures for the project.

These assessments which cover air quality, noise, aerosols, transport, landscape, ecology and drainage comply, in full, with technical standards to ensure the development will not impact on public health or neighbouring amenities.

The plant will deliver major benefits for Cowdenbeath and the local environment, with fewer emissions from the site, reduced fossil fuel use and a 20% reduction in movement of HGV trucks to and from the site.