New Anaerobic Digestors for Urban Areas Under Government Plans

It’s a mind-blowing statistic: the average person throws away three to four times their weight in food waste annually, with much of it going into landfill and contributing to the 16 – 18 million tonnes of leftovers buried each year. Now food waste into landfill could shortly be a thing of the past given the success of a commercial scale trial of anaerobic digestion in Ludlow, Shropshire.

The company behind the Ludlow initiative, Greenfinch, have developed the ability to process waste on a commercial scale without using slurry from farm waste: usually used to add moisture to the recycling process. This technology has opened the doors for anaerobic digesters to be introduced into urban areas.

Joan Ruddock MP, Minister for the Environment, toured the Ludlow site last week , saying: “anaerobic digestion is extremely attractive…It seems to me that a plant on this scale would fit into any industrial estate in the country…I am sure this is the way forward”.

The Ludlow digester should generate approximately 1400 megawatt hours of electricity from the biogas ( a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) produced by the digestion process.

At present only four other anaerobic digesters are operational in the UK at a commercial level, with less than 12 at the farm-scale. This is compared to 4,000 in operation in Germany. The UK Government has announced £10 million in funding to encourage the consrtuction of digesters, with 60 currently under construction.

Access information on Capital Grants Funding for anaerobic digestion at WRAP [applications open in autumn 2008 – contact WRAP for more information]