Image: The Kitt Green food processing factory in Wigan | Credit: Kraft Heinz
In a groundbreaking collaboration, the international food conglomerate Kraft Heinz has joined forces with the hydrogen energy innovator Carlton Power, unveiling their ambitious blueprint for a £40 million eco-friendly hydrogen initiative to transform the Wigan-based Kitt Green food production facility. This strategic partnership marks a significant leap towards sustainability, proposing the integration of a 20MW green hydrogen electrolyser fueled by sustainable electricity sources into one of Europe's most expansive and Kraft Heinz's premier global manufacturing sites.
Envisioned to supply at least 50% of the plant's energy demand—where a staggering 250,000 tonnes of food are produced annually for a workforce of 850—the project is a green innovation. It promises to slash the factory's carbon footprint by approximately 16,000 tonnes annually, illustrating a concrete step towards environmental stewardship.
"Our agreement with Carlton Power is an important step forward in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our global goal of net zero emissions by 2050, with a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030," said Jojo Lins De Noronha, president for Northern Europe at the Kraft Heinz Company. "We're excited to partner together to develop our first renewable hydrogen energy project globally and hope to see more projects like these in the future."
Projected to be operational by 2026, the venture's fruition hinges on acquiring financial backing from the UK government's latest hydrogen funding initiative, designed to bolster industrial hydrogen ventures. Over the forthcoming 12 to 18 months, Kraft Heinz and Carlton Power will navigate the intricacies of planning permissions, grants, and governmental endorsements to bring their vision to life.
Should the green light be given, this project will represent Carlton Power's fifth foray into green hydrogen in the UK, underscoring its commitment to the North West region with two other projects already under its belt. The company's portfolio, already enriched by government-backed hydrogen projects, is a testament to its pioneering role in the UK's green energy landscape.
Eric Adams, director of hydrogen projects at Carlton Power, said it was "critical that projects like this are brought forward to support British companies, especially in manufacturing, in reducing their carbon emissions and reaching net zero. "
Several local politicians have supported the project, including Labour's Shadow International Development Secretary and MP for Wigan, Lisa Nandy.
"Transitioning to net zero is essential to protect local jobs and defend the environment," she said.
"It is a sign of confidence in Wigan that Heinz has identified Kitt Green as the first site for investment. We look forward to working with them and the local community to develop this pioneering project."