Grocontinental has been shortlisted for a major accolade at the 32nd Motor Transport Awards – the road transport industry’s ‘Oscars’.

The motor industry’s flagship annual awards, to be held in July at The Grosvenor Hotel, London, celebrate the achievements of the industry and recognise innovation, outstanding service, efficiency and quality. They are judged by an independent panel of experts drawn from the industry.

Grocontinental has been shortlisted for the Innovation Award after submitting details of its successful installation of a green energy anaerobic digester to provide power for its 197,000 pallet spaces of multi-temperature storage. 

The 2.5 megawatt digester was commissioned last Autumn. It is fed with energy crops and kept at the right temperature to produce biogas. CHP engines then convert the gas into heat and electricity.

Grocontinental works with a co-operative of local farmers who are contracted to grow crop for the digester. The by-product from the digester is used as an organic fertiliser on the farmers’ fields, replacing chemical fertilisers.

The digester was the brainchild of Grocontinental’s Managing Director, David Grocott, who was influenced by agricultural digesters he researched in Shropshire. As he explains, “I had seen a number of large-scale digesters working successfully in Shropshire. Because we are based in a predominately agricultural county, I had a great opportunity to scrutinise a number of established installations and to learn from the experiences of operators.

“We’ve had on-going issues with the electricity supply to our site and my priority was to find a long-term and sustainable energy solution for our business. The digester is also fully aligned with the Government’s targets for generating sustainable energy and I believe it may be a first for the storage industry.”

“During the winter months, the digester’s output provided 100% of the energy required by our site and during the warmer summer months when our warehouse refrigerators have to work much harder, we expect it to cover 70% of what we need.”

Commenting on the success of the project, David Grocott said, “The bottom line is that renewable energy is vital for our future and the new anaerobic digester plant will provide us with a secure supply of green electricity and that will help our business grow and develop over the next decades.”

“We believe that now the plant is firmly established, this opens up the possibility of future expansion in terms of gas production - hopefully eventually fuelling our fleet of trucks.

“To be recognised by the industry for our innovation is a real achievement and we are all keeping our fingers-crossed for good news at the awards dinner in July.”

The event will be held on Wednesday 4th July and will be attended by more than 1,400 guests.

Grocontinental has an excellent track-record in the Awards having scooped the top honour, Haulier of the Year, on two occasions in 2004 and 2011.