Sustainable farming projects get ready to bear fruit
Comment from Denver Knight, Senior Contract Manager at Clancy
Since March, our teams have been working around the clock to support communities through the challenges of COVID-19 – ensuring that essential repair and maintenance on energy and water networks can continue while staying safe.
At the same time, we want to celebrate the work of two dedicated teams making their contribution to a longer-term challenge: securing the future of two major projects set to change the face of British farming and food.
Since last September, Clancy has been working alongside Low Carbon Farming and Anglian Water to deliver two state-of-the-art greenhouses in Norfolk and Suffolk. When complete, the two structures will be capable of producing 12 per cent of the UK’s tomatoes.
Greenhouses in East Anglia of course aren’t new – the region is already famous for its arable farming. The key difference behind these projects is the innovative role of heat exchange technology using waste energy from Anglian Water’s network to power the greenhouses.
In comparison to a standard gas-heated greenhouse for fruit farming, this technique will use 75% less energy. Heat pumps fuelled by Anglian Water’s wastewater treatment network will generate 95% of the power for the structures, with a combined heat and power plant (CHP) established to power the heat pumps themselves.
Our main role has been to bring our utility expertise to these unique projects – helping design, deliver and commission the multi-utility pipework and interfaces between the heat exchange buildings and the greenhouses, covering 7 kilometres between the two projects.
New technologies – from drones, to suction excavation, to trenchless tools – have helped us navigate woodland, water courses and Anglian Water’s existing network. At the same time, our expertise within the water sector as a whole has meant we have been able to advise on adjustments to the design to optimise performance and reduce costs, including through the use of offsite construction for key components.
All this activity has taken place over the last few months against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the need for special measures to keep everyone healthy and safe – including new hygiene regimes and social distancing on site.
It’s testament to the team’s hard work and enthusiasm for this exciting project that we’ve been able to maintain pace despite these challenges – with both projects now set to start handover for M&E fit out early in the summer.
To be named as one of the key suppliers on these innovative projects has been both rewarding and challenging. Both the design and build are progressing to programme and it has been a pleasure to work on such a collaborative project.