Increasing Anaerobic Digestion treatment capacity for preserves manufacturer

Food and Beverage
Design and Construction
Stacked mini jam jars

As part of their commitment to sustainability, we worked with the manufacturer of some of the UK's favourite preserves to upgrade their Anaerobic Digestion (AD) system at their facility in Cambridgeshire.

The aim was to increase capacity in order to generate more of their own energy on site and to reduce discharge costs.

The previous AD system had been struggling to treat effluent efficiently due to the capacity of the AD reactors and issues with biomass retention. Key issues to address were:

  • Significant under-utilisation of the Combined Heat and Power unit.
  • Increased Mogden trade effluent costs associated with the discharge of effluent to the public sewer.

As they planned to introduce a new line imminently, they were keen to upgrade their system to improve performance and ensure capacity for the future.

Project Overview

Project Overview


They sought a partner to help them deliver their site energy reduction program, aiming to deliver savings now and in the future. The project involved integrating new technology into an existing plant, with limited space, and ensuring that the factory was able to continue running at full capacity.

To enable them to improve efficiency we committed to deliver:

  • A replacement AD system designed to treat the current effluent load and a 20% uplift for future expansion, plus an additional capacity to treat waste jam currently sent off site for animal feed.
  • Improvements to the capacity and performance of the anaerobic reactor on a compact footprint
  • Improved capture of valuable energy that was previously underutilised
Aerial view of anaerobic digestion plant
Delivery of this project on a compact site presented some challenges in terms of design and contractor management, which the team addressed skilfully and with strong CDM management. The project was delivered on time, with high safety standards, and the plant was delivering expected performance within a short period time.
Ming Zhu
Engineering Manager, Alpheus

Design and Build services provided

Alpheus was selected for its’ specialist design and build knowledge and experience, being part of the Anglian Water Group, and for its unique ability to provide a bespoke solution from the best available technologies and equipment from across the whole market.

Alpheus’s team of experienced engineers designed, built and commissioned a new Anaerobic Digestion plant on a compact footprint that would provide a significantly higher treatment capacity, generate more biogas for the site CHP and boilers, and reduce trade effluent charges.

The scope of the project included:
  • Project and site management of the design, build and commissioning of the new facility.
  • Civil works and site preparation.
  • Replacement of the Balance Tank.
  • Supply and installation of a Paques ICX anaerobic reactor.
  • Supply and installation of a Gas buffer.
  • Supply and installation of associated pipework, electrical and mechanical equipment.
  • Integration of existing equipment items that were retained into the new control system.

The Outcome

Performance of the new anaerobic digestion system was strong from the outset. Excellent treatment results have been maintained since its’ commissioning.

  • Treatment of all effluent flow arising from the site
  • Consistently high COD removal at >85%.
  • 15% improvement in methane produced in biogas (from 65% to >75%)

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