Faced with the energy crisis currently affecting not just the UK but much of the world, the British government is overlooking the gift that is anaerobic digestion (AD), despite the business case for AD development growing stronger by the day, according to the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
It affirmed that this is the context in which it will hold its National Conference on 8 December. At its full potential, AD could meet 25% of the UK domestic gas demand and insulate customers from rocketing energy prices, which in turn have a spiralling effect on the costs to farmers and the food industry. The price of chemical fertilisers and CO2 have also increased dramatically, which is reflected in higher costs for food produce in the shops.
The AD sector provides a strategic solution to these crises, generating biogas, a biofertiliser (digestate) and bio-CO2 as readily available, homegrown alternatives – and furthermore, they are environmentally friendly.
“Investment in AD offers an immediate answer to the current crises, as the sector is capable of delivering energy and food security for the UK in the short term, while addressing the climate emergency,” said Chris Huhne, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and now chairman of ADBA. “Unlike a nuclear reactor, an AD plant can be built within two years. The sector already delivers the equivalent of 42% of the power generated by the UK’s nuclear industry. This could double within a few years.
“Given that we have a new administration in place”, he continues, “this will be a pivotal conference, setting out a roadmap for AD to support the development of a resilient and sustainable economy in the UK at a time of global instability and a clear acceleration of climate change impacts.
“The guardians of the Paris Agreement have concluded AD is the cheapest and most cost-effective way to keep global warming below 2˚C”, he adds. “The UK is a signatory of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions by 30% against 2020 levels. Treating organic wastes through AD is the most effective way of achieving these – preventing methane from rising into the atmosphere whilst generating bioenergy, biofertilisers and bioCO2. It’s a no brainer”.
The conference, to be held at One Great George Street in Westminster, London SE1, will make the business case for AD, including how it can deliver a market-led solution to the current crises. It will also report back on COP27, which is set to deliver a pledge on reducing wastes by 50% and call for a Just Nature Transition to align with the Just Energy Transition.
In afternoon breakout sessions, the conference will discuss how to bring digestate to market, best practice in AD, AD electricity generators, and the role of Local Authorities in delivering Net Zero growth in the UK.
Confirmed speakers include Lord Deben, Chair of the UK Climate Change Committee; Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Green New Deal and Energy; Russell Smyth, KPMG; James Richardson, National Infrastructure Committee; Dr Norman Ebner, Oxford Martin’s School; Sue Jefferson, Circular Malton and Norton; alongside senior representatives from BioCapital, Air Liquide and other key industry players.
To view the full programme and register, click here.