Pioneering ice cream maker invests in innovative low-carbon cooling system

Ice cream maker Mackie’s of Scotland is installing a new refrigeration system set to be one of the most sophisticated in Europe, in a £4 million project that will cut CO2 emissions by 90% and energy costs by up to 80%.

With support from Bank of Scotland, Mackie’s will replace its existing freezing equipment with low carbon, energy-efficient units run on ammonia and powered by a biomass boiler.

This will be Scotland’s first large-scale plant to use the technology and will act as a demonstrator project to inspire other Scottish fish, meat and dairy food manufacturers to adopt similar energy-efficient systems.

Realising green ambitions

The project is being brought to life thanks to a grant from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme and a loan from Bank of Scotland.

The new system runs on ammonia - a natural refrigerant gas that poses no threat to the environment – as opposed to the HCFC gases which power Mackie’s current refrigeration plants, which have a much higher global warming potential.

The move is an important step towards Mackie’s ambition of becoming the greenest company in Britain.

“Our ultimate aim is to one day go completely off-grid and use 100% renewable energy.”

Gerry Stephens, finance director, Mackie’s of Scotland

Gerry Stephens said: “We’re very excited about this project as the technologies involved are tried-and-tested methods but have not been commonly combined to produce a low-carbon, low-energy solution for cold store refrigeration.

“With Bank of Scotland’s support we are realising our green ambitions and, in the long run, we hope that our new system will set a precedent and make the energy-intensive food and drink sector more sustainable.”

“Bank of Scotland is fully committed to playing a key role in funding Scotland’s transition to a green economy.”

Marc Gilmour, relationship director, Bank of Scotland

Supporting sustainability in Scotland

Marc Gilmour added: “Since its first production of ice cream in 1986, Mackie’s has been leaders in low carbon initiatives and renewables.

“This project will help the Scottish Government meet its Energy Strategy targets, which aim to generate 50 per cent of Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030.

“Bank of Scotland has also committed to helping businesses in Scotland become more green, including training 450 relationship managers on sustainability, in partnership with the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership.”

Mackie’s already produce over 10 million litres of ice cream every year using more than 70% renewable energy thanks to its Aberdeenshire farm’s wind turbines and solar panels.