IEMA members visit new anaerobic digestion plant

4th November 2015


Members of IEMA's eastern region attended the opening of a £5.4 million anaerobic digestion plant at the Stowmarket head office of malted ingredients company Muntons.

The plant anaerobically digests the liquid waste produced from extracting malt from barley. It will provide up to 25% of the site's base-load electricity each year and produce 3,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser for sale to local farms to enrich fields to grow more of Muntons' prime raw material.

Manufacturing and sustainability director Nigel Davies described the generation of the fertiliser as a genuine cradle-to-cradle process.

"All of the sludge comes from processing locally grown barley. The AD plant will convert this into highly nutrient-rich fertislier used to cultivate more locally grown barley - a really perfect example of local recycling," he said. The company says it will save £750,000 each year and reduce annual carbon emissions from lorries by about 340 tonnes.

John Hill, chair of the eastern region, welcomed the fact that feedstock for the new plant is manufacturing agricultural residue, rather than purposely grown maize. This is often the fuel of choice for industrial scale, farm AD plants, and is creating a "maize monoculture" in East Anglia, with the loss of high grade, productive food growing land, less biodiversity and local transport disruption, he said.

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