The new £20m heating solution will further improve chicken welfare standards, reduce co2 emissions and reduce running costs at the upgraded locations at the farms which supply poultry to 2 Sisters.
The contract provides renewable energy and better breeding conditions for chickens meeting both market and consumer demands.
Historically with chicken farms, a large amount of ventilation was needed to decrease the humidity, co2 & ammonia levels leading to more heating expense to maintain temperatures.
Burning vast quantities of LPG, combined with regular top-ups of bedding was costing farms a lot of money. The new solution involves indirect heating from a water-air heat biomass exchanger, powered by a wood pellets source.
Efficient ‘dry heat’ now ensures optimum litter and air quality by providing total control over the humidity levels throughout the crop cycle, the birds grow better and there is considerably less waste.
Lionel Halls, Director of Agriculture at 2Agriculture, said: “We’re always looking to improve efficiency and innovate where we can, so this deal not only ticks both of these boxes, it also raises standards across our estate.
“As the key 2 Sisters Food Group poultry supply chain, we’re hoping that this contract will reap benefits right across the wider organisation.”
Staffordshire-based Mercian Power, part of Orchard Holdings, and a leading renewable energy and power company, has won the contract to provide the biomass heat.
Nigel Price, CEO Orchard Holdings/Mercian Power Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract for such a major supplier of UK poultry. It has taken us over 18 months of hard work to reach the point.
“Effectively this contract means that we are the ‘Heat supplier’, as you would buy your electricity from a utility company, you can now buy heat from Mercian Power.”
Installations are expected to start April 2014 and will run throughout the year, employing at least 100 contractors and operational and maintenance teams for the next 20 years.