Anaerobic digestion plant opens in Shropshire

A new multi-million pound anaerobic digestion plant has opened in Edgmond, Shropshire in the UK, which will convert 23,000 tonnes of food waste and cow slurry into biogas, feeding the electricity onto the local grid.

The plant, designed and built by BiogenGreenfinch for a local university, will work with retailers, manufacturers and caterers to gather the food waste; and Harper Adams own dairy herd housing 400 cows will provide the slurry.

Of the feedstock, 15,000 tonnes per annum of farm waste comes straight from Harper Adams University College's own farm and is pumped direct to the facility. A further  8,000 tonnes per annum of food waste is delivered in bulk, BiogenGreenfinch’s marketing manager Anita Smith told Bioenergy Insight magazine.

From the electricity generated, 495Kw of electricity will be used by. The 495Kw facility is geared to supply electricity to the Harper Adams University College campus, which invested in the project alongside the Higher Education Funding Council for England and E.ON. This electricity will replace what was previously was coming from the grid and during the quieter night hours a small proportion will be fed to the grid.

‘There are many small scale, farm based AD plants in the UK which tend to utilise farm waste and energy crops. The plant at Harper Adams utilises 8,000 tonnes out of the estimated 16 tonnes of food waste generated in the UK. What's special about this plant compared to others is that it uses all-British technology, design and engineering, and it is the only food based AD connected with a higher educational establishment,’ says Smith.

‘The original concept grew out of the University and they were successful in attracting funds through a UK government initiative called the Revolving Green Fund, one of only three awarded. The funds have to be repaid out of the success of the project.’

Richard Barker, CEO of BiogenGreenfinch, summarises the benefits of the facility: ‘It will not only provide educational and research opportunities for Harper Adams but will also bring additional commercial revenues to the university.’

The plant has been nominated recently as a finalist in two categories for an energy award, in both ‘Best Use of Biogas’ and ‘Renewable Electrical Facility Award’.

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