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Poplars Landfill (Cannock) - Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Waste management firm Biffa has opened its first ‘super’ anaerobic digestion plant with a 120,000 tonnes-a-year capacity facility at Cannock in Staffordshire. Costing £24 million to develop, the Poplars anaerobic digestion (AD) plant is intended to mainly treat commercial and industrial food and organic waste from the likes of Sainsbury’s, Mcdonalds, Greggs and Asda. Once it is fully up-and-running, the AD facility is expected to produce 6MW of renewable energy which will be diverted to the National Grid, the development marks a major addition to the UK’s AD network and is the largest AD plant for treating food waste to be built in the UK to date.

This ground breaking anaerobic digestion plant was realised by Ros Roca Envirotec, GTM JV (Galliford Try and Imtech Process) and Biffa. This project included a host of specialist sub contract companies, one of which was Franklyn Yates Engineering.

Franklyn Yates Engineering were contracted to deliver the mechanical installation element of the project that included: 

  • Installation of all plant items including all the tanks, boilers, centrifuges, pumps, valves, instrumentation, mixers, heat exchangers and coolers
  • Supplied and installed all interconnecting pipework in grade 316 sched 10 stainless steel
  • Installation of all trace heating, insulation and cladding
  • Provision of data for the 3D CAD model, along with all “As-built” drawings
  • Supplied and installed all necessary ALM equipment

To view the video produced by Biffa after the plant was commissioned, please use the link below


Mechanical Installation 

  • Procurement and installation of the pipes and supports
  • Installation of the free issued valves, flow meters, pumps and crushers
  • The hire of ancillary equipment such as cranes
  • Hydraulic pressure test (1.5 PN in every pipe).

Installation of the mixers

  • Off-loading the mixers
  • Installation of the mixers inside the digesters (including the motor)
  • Arrange crane hire
  • Filling the hydraulic seal of every mixer

Installations inside the boiler and heat exchanger rooms

  • Off loading of all the free issued equipment
  • Installation of the platforms provided
  • Procurement and installation of the pipes and ancillaries
  • Procurement and installation of the insulation materials for the pipes
  • Installation of the valves, flow meters and other equipment indicated in the P&IDs
  • Hydraulic pressure test (1.5 PN in every pipe)
  • Provided as built 3D CAD drawings

The importance of health, safety and the enviroment were clearly communicated to the project team. The following documentation and procedures were used to ensure that all works were carried out safely.

  • Risk Assessments
  • Method Statements
  • Lift plans
  • Reporting of unsafe acts
  • COSHH Assessments
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Personal exposure sheets
  • Certification for lifting equipment
  • Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
  • Trained and competent personnel
  • Internal Test Plans (ITP's)


This complex construction project had many facets that could of caused problems. Thanks to the comprehensive project management applied, combined with a clear and common goal between Franklyn Yates Engineering and our clients, Ros Roca Envirotec and the GTMJV regards what had to be achieved, the delivery team ensured that this project was a runaway success. As can be seen from the photos in the Gallery the craftsmanship and quality that was put in to every detail is apparent throughout the site.

Biffa are now operating this site at full production and providing renewable energy to the National Grid. Franklyn Yates Engineering are proud to have been involved with this innovative project and look forward to new projects that are focused around renewable energy.

(Cannock) - Anaerobic Digestion Plant

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