War on waste: Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Projects get the go-ahead from DEFRA

Published on Thursday, 11 June 2009 10:32
Written by Annabelle McGuinness

Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, has announced the five successful projects to receive government grants to create energy from organic waste, such as food

The grants are being awarded under the £10 million Defra Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme, and form part of wider plans to tackle food waste and packaging this week.

Anaerobic digestion breaks down organic matter, such as animal manure and food waste to produce biogas, a renewable energy source for heat, power and transport and keeps organic waste out of landfill, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

The five projects have been chosen as they will demonstrate cutting-edge technology and will be able to show the benefits of anaerobic digestion to a range of industries.

Mr Benn said:

"We need to rethink the way we deal with waste - we must see it as a resource, not a problem. In the UK we produce 100 million tonnes of food and other organic waste every year that we could be using to create enough heat and energy to run over two million homes - that's five Birminghams.

"This new technology will provide a source of renewable energy while reducing methane emissions from agriculture and landfill by diverting organic waste, especially food waste, from landfill.

"These first five projects will show other British businesses the benefits and possibilities of anaerobic digestion and help us become world leaders in this exciting new technology."

The successful applicants for funding from the Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme are:

  • Biocycle South Shropshire;
  • Blackmore Vale Dairies;
  • GWE Biogas Ltd;
  • Staples Vegetables; and
  • United Utilities and National Grid.

Liz Goodwin, Waste and Resources Action Programme Chief Executive Officer, said:

"These projects are truly ground-breaking and will be used to show how cutting edge technology can work in practice. Between them, they demonstrate how anaerobic digestion can help the UK efficiently meet the challenges of reducing carbon emissions, increasing renewable energy generation and improving sustainable food production. We will use what we learn from these projects to help develop the industry across the UK."

The five projects, to be built between now and the end of March 2011 are being funded by the £10 million Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme, administered by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The Defra-managed Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme forms part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's National Environmental Transformation Fund.

Source: The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

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