It may be the largest commercial hatchery in Europe, but Hy-Line UK's Millennium Hatchery can boast one of the smallest carbon footprints following over a decade of investment to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
The process started in 2009 with the installation of invertor controls for the setters and hatchers leading to more precision control of the motors, which resulted in an immediate reduction in electricity use. At the same time, a heat recovery unit was installed, which intercepted the cooling water from the setters. This water supply enters the setters and hatchers at around 10˚C and returns at some 20˚C higher, and what would previously have been a wasted heat source is now used to raise the ambient temperature of the hatchery by up to 10˚C. Not surprisingly, this significantly reduced gas consumption.
Further reducing reliance on the electricity grid was the installation of a 250kW solar system on the roof of the hatchery building. This is capable of supplying around ten per cent of electricity consumed by the hatchery, which has the capacity to produce over 30 million female chicks a year. A more recent investment has been the installation of a ground source heat pump which supplies all the hot water used in the hatchery, resulting in there no longer being a requirement for gas as an energy source.