Branston Potatoes PLC

Branston Potatoes PLC

The Company
Branston Potatoes PLC

The Problem
Established in 2005 in Lincoln, the company has since expanded. It now has a purpose-built, award-winning factory in Lincoln as well as sites in Somerset and Scotland. It is at its Lincoln and South West sites where the company handles 350,000 tonnes of potatoes a year

The cleaning and packing of potatoes within the food processing industry has a high water usage, which brings with it significant economic and environmental issues.

Rather than continuously drawing water from a borehole, Branston required a safe and efficient method to recycle the water.

The Solution

“By working with several local agencies, we have successfully created a water recycling unit which, after just a few months of being up and running, is reducing our mains water usage by an incredible 52%.”

As well as delivering environmental benefits, the MSE Systems bespoke water treatment plant delivered considerable cost saving benefits to Branston, specifically projected savings on electricity of more than 40% and 60% on water. The solution also enabled Branston to remove one LGV load of outgrade potatoes from the road each day.

We supplied a complete water treatment plant, based around Membrane Bio Reactor technology. MBRs combine activated sludge treatment with a liquid-solid separation process. The solution included an anaerobic digestion plant and major upgrades to the company’s existing water management system.

The MBR installation utilised Mitsubishi hollow fibre membrane type SADF1000 which processes 20m3/hr of water.

The process of recycling the wash water for Branston is complex as the water has to be purged, not only of the inevitable soil content but also of the nitrogen and phosphorus materials left by fertilizers and organic contamination.

Other aspects of repeated water use, such as chemical build up, were anticipated by the team in the design phase and these were subsequently dealt with through granulated activated carbon absorption. The filtering and treatment process included solids separation, aeration, carbonaceous oxidation and nitrification, final membrane filtering, granulated activated carbon absorption, ultra-violet treatment and chilling to 10ºC prior to re-use.

Laboratory equipment is used to monitor the system and analyse the water. This confirms environmental compliance as well as providing data to operate the plant. 90% of water at Branston’s South West site is now recycled, with any excess waste being safe to discharge off site.

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