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New study believes UK anaerobic development needs major support

A new study has suggested UK renewable energy output could be substantially boosted if the government banned all food leftovers from reaching landfills.

In the race to be using 15% renewable energy sources by 2020, the report on the UK by independent thinktank Centre Forum estimates that food waste used in anaerobic digesters could grow the number of homes powered by renewable energy sources from 300,000 to 2.5 million by the end of the decade.

Centre Forum believes councils should be given financial support to bring in separate food waste collections, which would ensure a steady supply of viable feedstock and improve the 1.3TWh of energy the UK already produces via this method by 800%.

The report also focuses on the barriers which prevent anaerobic digestion (AD) methods from moving to the next step, including the difficulty many AD schemes face when securing financing, the struggle to obtain long-term feedstock supply contracts and an assumed confusion as to actual government support.

The UK secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, was quoted as saying: ‘The government is committed to promoting an increase in energy from waste schemes through anaerobic digestion. CentreForum's report offers some interesting ideas for how this increase can be achieved.’