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UK’s organic waste can heat 750,000 homes this winter

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The UK’s cow manure, food waste and household sewage can produce enough green gas to heat over 750,000 homes this winter, according to the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

Released by the ENA as part of its first annual Britain’s Green Gas Scoreboard, the data shows that enough biomethane is now being produced to supply 770,654 homes while also supporting greener electricity production by displacing natural gas.

The report also revealed that a total of 109 biomethane green gas production sites are now connected to the UK’s gas grid, with developers building a further 23 sites across the nation. In 2011, only one site was connected to the grid.

Food waste discarded by food processing sites and restaurants is providing enough biomethane to hear 211,552 homes, almost the same number of homes as in Edinburgh. Farm waste, such as manure, is providing enough biomethane to heat 83,100 homes, covering the equivalent of all homes in York.

Crop waste, leftover from the harvesting of crops such as wheat, barley and maize, is providing enough biomethane to heat 151,109 homes, more than the number of homes in Cardiff. Waste from sewage plants is providing enough biomethane to heat 128,442 homes – more than the number of homes in Newcastle.

“Home-grown, locally-produced green gas is a great way of reducing emissions from our heat and electricity production, especially when it comes to keeping Britain’s homes warm and lights on during the long, cold winter nights,” said David Smith, chief executive of the ENA.

“These figures show how cow dung from our farms, leftover food waste from our restaurants, and sewage from our water treatment plants have a huge role to play in reducing the carbon emissions from our towns, villages and communities, all while providing them with secure energy supplies.”