The UK has plans to build more than 1,000 anaerobic digesters to turn unwanted food and farm waste into energy and fertiliser. Anaerobic digesters break down organic waste naturally into a solid that can be used as fertiliser and a gas that can be burnt to generate heat and electricity.
Jane Kennedy, the UK Environment Minister, will declare anaerobic digesters the solution to organic waste. She will also launch a task group with instructions to identify how many should be installed by other sectors, such as the water industry, to make anaerobic digestion “a major source of renewable energy”.
Other countries, notably Germany, have made widespread use of anaerobic digesters, and ministers are anxious to increase the number in Britain to reduce pressure on landfill sites and to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Farms produce 90 million tonnes of waste, including manure and slurry, while a further 12 to 20 million tonnes of wasted food and food scraps go into landfill after being thrown away by households, businesses, restaurants and hotels.
The Government plan to have 1000 anaerobic digesters by 2020; currently there are 20 such fixtures. . These would make the Farm self sufficient in electricity. Any excess would pass into the national grid.
The water industry deals with 1.73 million tonnes of sewage sludge each year, which could be used in digesters.
The hope would be to provide electricity and heat for 2 million homes.
Lewls Smith Environment Reporter Times February 17th p 14.
- Martin Eastwood