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UK AD plant to feed biogas to grid

A new anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Suffolk, UK, will convert business food waste into bioenergy to heat homes and power cars.

The facility which will be the first of its kind to generate renewable energy for the gas grid, will be sited on land owned by Southwold-based independent brewery Adnams, which will use the facility to recycle its brewery waste. Food waste will be sourced from other local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and retailers.

AD is a technology that produces energy from organic material such as food waste and manure. It produces a nutrient-rich digestate, which can be used as fertiliser, and keeps organic waste out of landfill, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Although still in its infancy, the practice of feeding biogas into the National Grid is expected to become an important and secure supply for UK green energy in the future. A report commissioned by the National Grid last year concluded that biogas could supply up to half of the UK’s domestic gas needs.

Although called Adnams Bio Energy, the plant will be run as a separate entity to the brewery by Bio Group Ltd, a company that specialises in turning organic waste into energy.

The £2.7 million(€2.99 million) facility has just secured over £1 million of funding from the European Regional Development Agency (ERDF). When it begins operating in the summer, it will have the capacity to break down up to 12,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into biogas and is expected to save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared to landfill and up to 2,400 tonnes a year from fuel use.