Frozen peas have been produced in the UK since 1946 after the fast freezing process was developed in 1929 by Clarence Birdseye. Birdseye are one of the largest pea processors in the world, and the largest in the UK, processing and freezing around 50,000t of peas per year during the harvest season from June to August. Their facility at Hull is situated in the centre of a 30-mile radius of 200 growers, allowing the peas to be picked, transported and frozen in the shortest possible timescale. During the pea season, the factory processes 1,000t of peas 24-hours a day. Associated with this is the water which is used to wash the peas and as fresh water needs to be used the wastewater was traditionally treated by the local water company.
With tightening of legislation and permit standards, Birdseye asked MSE Hiller, to develop a proposal to treat 400m3/h of their water leaving site.
In June 2019 MSE Hiller carried out pilot testing during the pea season to prove the concept of treatment by centrifugation. This proved successful and the company was invited to develop a full scale process with 4 pieces of DP664 Hiller decanters and associated plant construction.
The space constraints on site and the short project timescale was going to be a challenge, but a proactive project team was assembled, including the client and site operator, to ensure a timely delivery of the project in readiness for the 2020 season.
With only a few days to spare before the pea season began, MSE Hiller delivered the completed plant on time and on budget, despite the challenges of building a large process plant during the Covid-19 outbreak. Ivan Fomin, Managing Director at MSE Hiller explains, “The client trusted us to deliver this solution and worked positively and proactively to help us achieve the target. It is great to see what solid teamwork can achieve under challenging circumstances”.