Food waste AD plant opens

A commercial food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant located in County Durham, UK, has started operations.

The Emerald Biogas-operated £8 million (€9.6 million) facility has a capacity to process 50,000 tonnes a year of leftover food collected from businesses across the northeast of the country. It will generate enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually.

At the plant launch, UK waste minister Dan Rogerson said: 'Dealing with waste properly not only benefits the environment but will also help create jobs and build a stronger economy. Our £2 million grant has helped developed this plant which will treat food waste and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.'

Emerald Biogas director Adam Warren adds: 'Food waste is a major concern for the northeast, where 800,000 tonnes is generated every year. Through this investment, we will contribute a continued source of renewable energy to local businesses, while also providing a sustainable solution for dealing with food waste which traditionally goes to landfill.'

The funding for the project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union. HSCB's Tyne Tees Commercial Centre also invested £3.6 million in the project.

The bio-fertiliser derived from the waste treatment process is supplied to land owners within a 10-mile radius of the plant through Agricore, which delivers a range of agricultural services and products to the farming industry.

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