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Over eighty delegates from the North East turned out last week to an event to highlight huge opportunities within anaerobic digestion (AD) supply chains.
The event, organised by RENEW and MAS North East, held at Durham County Cricket Club, was designed to give North East businesses an introduction to the anaerobic digestion process and opportunities across the whole of the UK. Businesses that attended were able to find out about the technology, where the opportunities exist and how they can access the market.
The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association predicts that 1,000 anaerobic digestion biogas plants will be built in the next five years at a cost of £5 billion, mostly funded by the private sector. Fifty-four plants are already operational across the country with another 50 in the planning stage and businesses in the region were encouraged to explore the potential and take advantage of current opportunities.
Peter Walsh, Energy Manager, RENEW said: "There was an excellent turnout at the event, far more than expected which shows the level of interest in Anaerobic Digestion from businesses in the region. It's good to see this interest from manufacturers wanting to get involved and take forward the information to make the most of the huge opportunities in the region."
"There is lots of support out there for suppliers, manufacturers and plant projects including a number of networks such as the REA (Renewable Energy Association), ADBA (Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association) and the EEIF (Energy and Environmental Industries Forum). I would encourage anyone who is interested in Anaerobic Digestion to get involved in these networks and get onto the suppliers and projects list soon, as I'm sure event like this will be taking place across the country as businesses look to move into this renewable energy sector."
RENEW facilitates and delivers commercial energy and environmental technology projects across North East England and is committed to ensuring the region is at the forefront of the UK's low carbon sustainable energy drive. Working with businesses, communities, investors, regulators and technology suppliers, RENEW helps low carbon energy and environmental technology projects make the transition from development to the marketplace.
Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) North East, who co-hosted the event, play a vital role in helping UK manufacturers to share knowledge, improve productivity and achieve success in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Simon Taylor, Principal Consultant, MAS North East said: "The attendance was excellent, demonstrating the high regional interest in this emerging business area. Feedback from the delegates indicated that the information presented by the speakers was very good and several delegates requested follow up from both MAS North East and RENEW. All in all a very successful event."
The event was based around ten speakers who focused on varying specialties in their fields of expertise and the Government's Renewable Obligation and Feed in Tariff schemes were highlighted by various speakers to support the payback timeframe of plants.
Lucy Hopwood, Head of Biogas and Feedstock, National Non Food Crop Centre, who gave a speech on AD market opportunities said: "We are currently way behind many of our EU counterparts when it comes to AD - it's embarrassing really. There are two main opportunities; either farm-scale, self-sufficient in feedstock, or commercial scale handling external feedstock such as food waste. We currently have just 32 farm-based plants and 22 commercial plants in the UK , some way off the aspiration for 1,000 and 200 respectively by 2020. We can't sit around and wait for this to happen, we need to act now."
The other speakers at the event included Graham Hillier (CPI), Kevin Quigley (Emerald Biogas), Sally Johnson (Northern Biogas), Graham Humphries (CPI), Richard Gueterbock (Clearfleau), Steve Scott (Xebec) and Iain Ward (CNG Services).
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