Food and Drink

Lanchester Group to build new £20m bottling factory in Stanley, County Durham

Updated on Thursday 7 March 2019, 9:46 AM

4 Minute Read

A cutting-edge project that will use wine to heat a new £20m factory in Stanley has been kick-started by the Lanchester Group.

The County Durham firm – which includes wine merchant Lanchester Wines and Greencroft Bottling – is developing a £20m bottling facility at its site at Annfield Plain.

Greencroft Two will be the first of its kind to be entirely powered by renewable wind and solar energy, but will also use wine to heat the building.

The premises will incorporate a sparkling wine capability. During the process the wine needs to be chilled and, using a heat pump, the excess energy will be used to heat the building.

Lanchester Group will be the first business in the world to use wine to heat its buildings.

Tony Cleary, managing director of the Lanchester Group, said: “We believe being carbon neutral is just the beginning – even with this additional facility, the group will continue to produce cleaner renewable energy than we use, which we believe makes us carbon minus.

As a business, we continue to make choices about our long-term sustainability which go above and beyond both legislation and common practice. Our aspiration is to become a thought leader and sharer of best practice.

As a privately owned, family business we are in a largely unique position which enables us to experiment and take risks in order to find new solutions, and we want others to emulate our successes – we believe what is good for the environment is good for us all.

Greencroft Two will also be powered by the company’s three onsite wind turbines and a host of solar panels capable of generating 850,000KwH per year.

Adam Black, Lanchester Wines’ head of energy, said: “Greencroft Two will be 300 metres long and 60 metres wide. We can fit about 1MW of solar panels across its south roof.”

Lanchester Group is also in discussions with two battery storage companies with the hope of storing its renewable energy on site for use at peak consumption times.

Along with furthering the group’s renewable energy goals, Greencroft Two will also allow it to increase its filling capacity from around 105m litres to 400m.

The 220,000sq ft bottling facility will be completed by 2020. Work was initially due to start next year but the company pushed it forward 12 months after seeing an increase in demand for its services.

The development will also allow Lanchester Group to create jobs in the local area.

Mr Cleary said: “There are nearly 400 people working here and I have always wanted to employ 500 people locally. We have 500 people in total across the whole company, but 400 here. We will employ more people but we will be more efficient.”

He added: “We are aiming for another 100 but that could take two years.”

Julian Critchlow, director general for energy transformation and clean growth at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), officially broke ground at the new facility.

Mr Critchlow said: “If you look at the work Lanchester Group has been doing it has been at the forefront of turbines and electric generation.

This is a growing business and it is local jobs built on local assets and local capabilities. It is the sweet spot of what clean growth is about.

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