IntroductionThe UK sustainable development commitments stress importance of renewable energy sources as a vehicle to avoid pollution, ecological imbalance and climate change. The changing legal and political perspective on climate change puts pressure on farmers and food producers to adopt alternative and sustainable methods of waste management. Many people involved in the Draft Energy Strategy reported that there is great potential for producing energy from agricultural waste.
This also tackles two key issues in many counties of:
-waste minimization and renewable energy, both from a climate change and resource maximization point of view provides impetus to adoption of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) to respond to both issues.
The adoption of AD offers great potential for renewable electricity, heat, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation and can lead to integrated management of farm and food processing residues with significant environmental and ecological benefits.
A scoping study carried out recently suggested that sustainable use of agricultural and food process residue can help in producing non-carbon energy, reducing green house gases (GHG) emission, the amount of landfill waste and the overall use of fossil fuels, and could help to boost rural economies.
It also indicates huge potential for generating renewable energy using AD, and encouraging the decentralisation of sustainable energy generation.
The technical feasibility study is the first step, and such a study should consider two development options:
A. Farm-based AD plant
B. Centralised Anaerobic Digestion (CAD) plant