21 October 2008

Agri-food Businesses Could Divert More of their Food Waste to Anaerobic Digestion Plants: Greg Hilton

Bidwells Proposes Anaerobic Solution

Agri-food businesses and householders alike could be diverting more of their food waste to anaerobic digestion plants in order to save on volumes going to landfill and creating a renewable energy source.

Greg Hilton, Renewable Energy consultant for Bidwells Agribusiness said: “We throw away over 6 million tonnes of food waste each year, with the vast majority going to landfill. If we used just 10 per cent of this food waste in AD plants we would be able to supply 50,000 houses with clean, green energy. We would also have a significant impact on our carbon emissions as the food sector is responsible for around 20 per cent of the entire UK carbon emissions.

Diverting food waste from landfill, where it produces the damaging greenhouse gas methane, would make a big difference." The outputs of AD are electricity for use on site or export to the national grid, as well as heat for use in the business or nearby properties, and a rich bio-fertiliser, which could have added benefits for horticultural and agricultural land.

Increases in landfill tax and increased returns from renewable electricity are likely to make AD increasingly attractive in the future. Hilton said: "Anaerobic Digestion offers a win-win situation. It diverts waste from going to landfill, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides high value, sustainable energy.

As energy prices increase, technology develops and pressure mounts to reduce carbon emissions, measures that are green and sustainable become increasingly popular and more viable.

At Bidwells we have…experience in evaluating the technical and economic viability of anaerobic digestion and biomass combined heat and power systems, and we predict that more and more projects will become economically viable over the coming years as margins improve and set up costs fall."

Meanwhile, Leicestershire County Council has recognised the potential value and benefits of anaerobic digestion and is offering support to businesses that would like to evaluate its potential. The council is offering grants of up to £5,000 for a maximum of half the value of an AD feasibility study and is keen to encourage businesses to take up the opportunity. More.

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