Case study


12 December 2023

Decarbonising our operations

At British Sugar, we are committed to reducing our Greenhouse Gas emissions footprint by 30% by 2030. For many years, we have been working hard to improve energy efficiency in our factories and reduce our energy usage, which has supported our progress to decarbonise our operations and help towards the UK’s net zero ambitions. In the last five years we have reduced our Scopes 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 22%, but we know there is always more to do.

At Wissington, we have recently completed the installation of a new £17 million energy reduction project, installing a new evaporator which will reduce the site emissions by 30,000 tonnes of carbon a year – the equivalent of 3,700 UK households’ energy use every year. This evaporator was commissioned and operating for the start of the 2023 campaign and has already reduced the site’s sugar production steam demand by 25%. Planning is underway for a similar, £20 million project at Bury St Edmunds, which will cut the site’s carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes – equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of around 4,000 people. 

Also at Bury St Edmunds, we have invested £5 million in decarbonising animal feed production on site, through improved mechanical pressing performance of the sugar beet pulp material and pre-heating of the dryer air using waste heat from our on-site Combined Heat and Power plant. This will reduce emissions by around 6,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

We have also upgraded the sugar beet pulp press station at our Wissington factory to include a new, larger, self-draining press as well as making improvements across three other pulp presses. These improvements increased the quantity of water squeezed from the pulp, thus reducing the energy required to dry it in the animal feed drying operations. These upgrades have resulted in a rection in gas usage on-site, and a C02e emission reduction of 5,000 tonnes per annum.

At our Newark site, we have installed new heaters, which are used to heat the raw juice in the sugar production process, reducing the factory’s annual fuel consumption by more than 19,000 MWh and reducing annual carbon emissions by more than 3,500 tonnes per annum.

Finally, at Cantley, plans are in place to install a new, modular gas-fired Combined Heat and Power plant on site, which will reduce carbon emissions by around 16,000 tonnes per year. We are also trialling work to reduce lime usage in the sugar production process at Cantley, which will bring energy and carbon reduction benefits.  

As technology moves forward and develops, we will continue to consider all possible options to drive further decarbonisation across all our sites.