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Suffolk AD plant to feed biogas from business food waste into grid

Greenwise Staff
17th March 2010
East of England businesses will for the first time have the opportunity to have their food waste turned into bio energy to heat homes and power cars thanks to a new anaerobic digestion facility set to be built in Suffolk.
The anaerobic digestion (AD) facility, which will be the first of its kind to generate renewable energy for the gas grid, will be sited on land owned by Southwold-based independent brewery Adnams, which has embraced low carbon business practices and will use the facility to recycle its brewery waste. Food waste will be sourced from other local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and retailers.

AD is a technology that produces energy from organic material such as food waste and manure. It produces a nutrient-rich digestate, which can be used as fertiliser, and keeps organic waste out of landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Although still in its infancy, the practice of feeding biogas – which can also derived from drier wastes and energy crops via technology called gasification – into the National Grid is expected to become an important and secure supply for UK green energy in the future. A report commissioned by the National Grid last year concluded that biogas could supply up to half of the UK’s domestic gas needs.

As well as helping to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste in the East of England, the AD plant will create jobs and will mean local businesses will be able to reduce their landfill costs. It will also be used to showcase to other businesses that visit the site the benefits of the technology.

Although called Adnams Bio Energy Limited, the plant will be run as a separate entity to the brewery by Bio Group Ltd, a company that specialises in turning organic waste into energy.

European Regional Development Agency backing AD facility
The £2.7 million facility has just secured over £1 million of funding from the European Regional Development Agency (ERDF). When it begins operating in the summer, it will have the capacity to break down up to 12,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into biogas and is expected to save 50,000 tonnes of CO2 compared to landfill and up to 2,400 tonnes a year from fuel use.

Lyn McGoff, technical development manager for Bio Group, said the digester would have a positive impact on the local businesses saving them estimated five per cent in landfill costs for every customer who uses the facility.

David Morrall, European director, East of England Development Agency (EEDA), which manages the ERDF fund and is also backing the project, said the use of AD in the generation of renewable energy was “still in its infancy” which made the Adnams Bio Energy facility “particularly exciting”. He said it was therefore important that it was used to “demonstrate an innovative low carbon technology, which will inspire other organisations and businesses to consider similar projects.”

EEDA said a service would be established to collect food waste from local businesses for the new AD plant.

Funding for the Adnams facility was unveiled today at Base, a conference in London designed to help businesses seize opportunities of incorporating sustainability into their business practices.

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Suffolk AD plant to feed biogas from business food waste into grid
The first AD plant to feed biogas into the National Grid will be located on the site of Suffolk brewery Adnams
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