Fulcrum awarded new £5.5m infrastructure contract
Multi-utility infrastructure and service provider Fulcrum Utility Services has been awarded a new £5.5m multi-utility infrastructure contract that would support the decarbonisation of the UK agriculture sector, it announced on Thursday, by powering a new 22-hectare renewably-heated vegetable growing facility.
The AIM-traded firm said that, working with low-carbon energy projects specialist AGR Renewables, it had been been awarded the contract to deliver electricity, gas and water infrastructure for Greencoat Capital's latest large-scale greenhouse near Ely, Cambridgeshire, which would be one of the largest built greenhouses in the UK, and would have the capacity to grow 10% of the cucumbers consumed in Britain.
Under the contract, the group would design and install seven kilometres of electricity infrastructure, 12.5 kilometres of gas infrastructure and 2.9 kilometres of water infrastructure, and would provide network connections to a new combined heat and power (CHP) energy centre adjacent to the greenhouse.
The energy centre would power open-loop heat pumps, which would use heat from the nearby reservoir to warm the greenhouse.
Fulcrum said the renewable heating process would deliver a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide compared to conventionally-heated greenhouses, and would also use 10 times less water than is used for field-grown vegetables.
With plans for the greenhouse to be operational before the end of the first quarter of 2022, the company said it had already undertaken a programme of design and pre-mobilisation works to ensure that it could deliver the utility infrastructure within a “relatively short” timescale, enabling the energisation of the electricity and gas connections and completion of the water infrastructure before the end of the 2021 calendar year.
“We are delighted to be using our capabilities and expertise to power this greenhouse, which will support the decarbonisation of the UK agriculture sector and help reduce food mileage,” said chief executive officer Terry Dugdale.
“With 85% of the UK's cucumbers imported from abroad, these huge greenhouses have the capability to increase the volume of home-grown vegetables in a sustainable way through methods that use renewable, low carbon energy.
“We have worked closely with AGR and Greencoat, bringing our experience of multi-utility infrastructure and CHP energy centres to ensure that this project can be delivered to a relatively short timescale, so vegetable production can begin early next year.”
At 0939 BST, shares in Fulcrum Utility Services were up 1.52% at 33.5p.