Britcon completes £32m east London-based anaerobic digestion plant for ReFood

UK-based building and civil engineering contractor Britcon has completed a major contract to deliver a new anaerobic digestion plant in east London for food waste specialist ReFood.

The £13.5 million (€15.5m) construction project was completed within the allocated 66-week timeframe and on budget by Britcon which has become a key strategic partner for Refood and has delivered all of its UK AD projects too date.

ReFood has a portfolio of 11 AD plants across Europe which together generate enough renewable energy to power more than 50,000 homes every year.   It is a part of the Saria Group which is a division of Germany’s Rethmann Group.

The new plant in Dagenham is the most advanced integrated AD plant dedicated to food waste in the south of England. The gas to grid (G2G) facility is capable of recycling 160,000 tonnes of food waste each year generating 14 million m3 of biogas. 

Using G2G technology this is upgraded to reflect the qualities of natural gas – allowing it to be injected directly in to the national grid and used to power 12,600 homes across the region.

As well as displacing 73,600 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of taking 14,431 cars off the road, ReFood Dagenham will support Transport for London’s (TfL) Clean Air Action Plan through the generation of biomethane for gas-powered vehicles.

The plant is located in the London Sustainable Industries Park (SIP) in Dagenham Dock and has created more than 60 jobs. 

As principal contractor for the project Britcon managed to entire build project including groundworks, remediation works, piling operations, structural steelwork buildings and construction of works for multiple high rise, post tensioned, circular, reinforced concrete digester, receiving and gas storage tanks.

John Whitmore, a director at Britcon who is intrinsically involved with Refood’s plant delivery strategy, attended a recent event where the site was officially opened by Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor (environment and energy) and Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of Germany’s Rethmann Group (a parent company of Refood).

Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, said: “Opening ReFood Dagenham comes as part of a strategic ambition to recycle more than one million tonnes of food waste by the end of 2017 – a milestone that we are on track to achieve thanks to Britcons’ considerable expertise in such highly complex sites. Since our first year of production in 2012, national operations have grown by more than 250%.”

Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor (environment and energy), added: “We’re committed to helping drive up London’s recycling rates, as well as making London zero carbon by 2050.

“This new facility, the first of its kind in London, is exactly the type of solution we need to help achieve this. Not only will it deal with London’s food waste, but it will also produce clean biogas to help cut the carbon emissions of the gas grid.” 

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