18 August 2012

UK Biofertiliser Certification Scheme for Digestate Success or Failure

There has a been a slow take-up of digestate certification for bio-degradable organic waste with only 8 AD Plants now certified under the scheme, albeit 5 of those being so far during 2012.

The question has to be asked whether a viable market for source-separated biodegradable waste derived digestate will ever be achieved for this undoubtedly high nutrient and excellent soil improvement value fertiliser?

The problem for all Anaerobic Digestion Plant operators in the municipal waste management sector of the industry has always been that the digestate produced by them is classified as a waste. Being a waste, it cannot be freely marketed as a product in the normal way. So, there is effectively no way for the producers to generate a revenue stream from their digestate. In fact in many cases their entire digestate production may need to be treated before it can be disposed of. Such treatment, which is done in a water treatment plant sometimes by sewer discharges for the smaller plants, is very expensive indeed.

Anyone using the none Biofertiliser Certification Scheme compliance accredited digestate on farmland must comply with stringent waste management regulations. Such regulations, even where digestate use is feasible, brings high costs and also puts off potential users. After-all, how many supermarkets would be happy to see their produce if described as fertilized by an industrial waste?

The big hope has been the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme, and the hope that it would eventually be extended to other digestate sources. Read more about this at the Anaerobic Digestion News blog.

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