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Most of UK town’s gas supply to come from AD plant

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A town in Norfolk, UK will become one of the first to be supplied mainly with green gas from an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant.

As part of a £17 million (€19.8 million) upgrade project by Privilege Finance, 100,000 tonnes of food waste collected from local households and businesses will be processed by the AD plant, to produce green gas for use in 4,000 homes in the town of Attleborough.

The work being undertaken at the Attleborough site is a major development project that includes the addition of four digestion tanks, a food waste reception hall and depackaging unit, plus a gas upgrader. With construction expected to be complete in March 2022, the upgraded AD Plant will produce 1,000 cubic metres of green gas per hour.

“The town will spearhead the concept of a sustainable circular waste-to-energy economy while reducing its carbon footprint,” said Marc Graham, project development manager at Privilege.

“What really sets this project apart is the fact that green gas will be piped directly into homes and businesses that are generating the food waste. It’s a true closed loop.

“This is unique because a typical gas infrastructure would mean household gas is from a mix of resources. In this instance, local home and business owners will be able to trace the gas production back specifically to a renewable energy generating source.”

There will be no noticeable differences for homeowners, said Graham, so they will be able to continue to cook and heat their homes in the usual way.

Methane produced from food waste and other sources is a greenhouse gas (GHG) which is 28-34 times more powerful than CO2, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The Waste & Resources Action Programme also states inedible food waste from UK households and businesses is around 2.85 million tonnes and is associated with more than 7.5 million tonnes of GHG emissions.

“Food waste is often an underestimated contributor to manmade GHG emissions,” said Graham. “However, this plant is a clear example of how GHG emissions can be reduced through the recycling of this food waste and capturing of the methane within the digester for processing into green gas.

“Carbon emission savings will also be made, as all of Norfolk’s food waste collections will be processed within the country, reducing unnecessary waste miles associated with transporting it long distances for processing.”