Food waste disposal – a local community solution
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a proven, well-tried and tested process that uses organic matter to produce biogas (renewable energy) and digestate (biofertiliser). AD provides a source of renewable energy, a method for recycling organic matter and a means of lowering greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
With a feasibility study already in the bag, Harborough Energy, in partnership with Village Power CIC is moving towards the potential for a local AD plant to become a reality
Speaking to “Resource” Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), explains the benefits of this fast growing sector
“The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry recently celebrated the passing of a huge industry milestone, with the announcement that over 400 biogas plants are now in operation as a result of over 600 per cent growth ou
tside the water sector over the past five years.* In total, the AD industry now delivers a combined electrical equivalent capacity (electricity and biomethane) of over 514 megawatts – equivalent to the remaining capacity of one of the UK’s nuclear power plants, Wylfa, which is being decommissioned this year “
The benefits to the UK are immense. Charlotte Morton outlines these:
- Cost effectiveness
AD is about more than just renewable energy. AD will be cheaper than nuclear by the time nuclear is delivered, providing localised generation without the risks of a single large development, at the same time as reducing the UK’s carbon emissions by four per cent, a huge number for a single technology.
- Economic productivity and global competitiveness
A sector already employing 4,500 people, with the potential to employ over 30,000 more in construction, transport, waste collection, manufacturing and engineering, is worth protecting. On-site AD enhances the economic and environmental sustainability of farming and food production.
- Domestic gas production and baseload electricity
The government has clearly stated that it recognises the importance of indigenous gas supplies, and that it is prepared to pay for baseload electricity. AD can deliver around 30 per cent of domestic gas demand, saving imports and enhancing energy security. There is also an economic benefit in balancing the intermittency of other renewables and reducing the need to reinforce the grid worth about £30 per megawatt hour (MWh).
- Meeting recycling targets
Separate food waste collections are essential to meet the government’s recycling targets, for which we think AD is the best treatment option.
- Decarbonising transport and heat
Biomethane from AD provides renewable energy in the form of gas, potentially helping to decarbonise heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and our heat networks.
We, at Harborough Energy are excited about the opportunity for our community to own a plant and we hope it will excite you too. If you are interested in hearing more about the project or in investing in our eventual share offer we’d love to hear from you.
We are particularly keen to hear from food production organisations that are interested in an innovative concept for turning waste food into electricity and secure competitive waste disposal costs.