Largest AD plant in Wales starts generating electricity
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Food waste processor Biogen has announced the completion of a new food waste anaerobic digester (AD) in Waen, Denbighshire in Wales.
The new £7.5 million facility will recycle 22,500 tonnes of food waste every year, generating 1MW of electricity, which the company says is enough to power 2,000 homes.
The food waste will be sent to the plant by a consortium of Denbighshire, Conwy and Flintshire local authorities all of which carry out weekly food waste collections from local residents and businesses. The closed-loop operation will also produce a nitrogen-rich biofertiliser for use on local farmland.
AD is a natural process by which micro-organisms break down organic matter, in the absence of oxygen, to produce a mixture of CO2 and methane, or biogas, which can be used directly in combined heat and power engines or cleaned and used in the same way as natural gas. The biofertiliser is a bi-product of the process.
There are now over 100 operational food waste AD plants in the UK and more in the pipeline, making a significant contribution to the UK's landfill targets, which is to reduce biodegradable municipal waste entering landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2020.
Despite the success of these AD plants, resource minister Dan Rogerson recently ruled out a total ban on organic waste entering landfill. "Current evidence suggests that introducing bans or restrictions on sending organic waste to landfill would have an impact on businesses and local authorities in terms of compliance and monitoring, risking additional cost burdens on businesses," he said.
The Waen AD plant, which was constructed on the site of a former abattoir, has been welcomed by local authorities. "We are very proud of the AD plant and also pleased that residents across the three counties will have access to the scheme. We'll be encouraging householders to make full use of the kitchen caddies with the knowledge that their food waste is being put to such good use to create renewable energy," said Sam Bates, waste operations manager at Denbighshire county council.
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