McCulla Ireland, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading storage and logistics companies, has launched its circular economy waste-to-energy transport fleet at an event at its Lisburn headquarters. This new sustainable fleet, which has been many years in development, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and delivers improved efficiencies and reduces the hauler’s carbon emissions by 93% in comparison to diesel.
The company has long been conscious of its environmental impact but some years ago set out a long-term strategy to make environmental protection a core part of the business. McCulla Ireland now has its own energy division, called Alternity Biogas Energy (ABE), which includes an anaerobic digester plant that enables the company to produce all of its own energy.
The company is now using food waste as feedstock for the biofuel plant, which has been powering its offices and cold stores since 2017 and has now started producing biomethane for use as fuel in its fleet of natural gas-powered trucks.
“We are extremely proud to introduce Northern Ireland’s first circular economy waste-to-energy transport fleet,” said Ashley McCulla, Chairman of McCulla Ireland. “Through collaborative partnerships we collect food waste from our customers and process it through our anaerobic digester plant to produce energy. This includes electricity for our cold stores and biomethane for our trucks. We also supply bio-fertilizer to local farms to grow more food. It really is a full circle process that reduces waste to an absolute minimum right across our supply chain.”
“The decision to embark on this project started in 2012 and was primarily driven by my desire to be in control of my own destiny. The logistics industry is very energy intensive with over 40% of our costs coming from electricity and diesel, both of which fluctuate wildly from year to year. With this plant we are now able to manage our biggest costs,” he added. “Northern Ireland has the technical expertise and resources to become energy secure and less dependent on outside influences.”
“I welcome this innovative and exciting initiative by McCulla Transport to power its fleet. This is a prime example of the circular economy at work. In this case, compressed bio-methane produced from waste food is being used to power the vehicles that deliver food to the very supermarkets whose waste was used to produce the biofuel in the first place,” commented Environment Minister Edwin Poots. “Northern Ireland’s transition to a circular economy will undoubtedly be a cornerstone of achieving reductions in carbon emissions as well as contributing to our net zero ambitions.”
Source: UK Cold Chain Federation