Waste not, want not – with new renewable energy facility

A £1.18 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will enable the construction of a groundbreaking facility in Suffolk, specifically designed to produce renewable energy and to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste in the East of England.

The facility, which is being built and run by Adnams Bio Energy Limited, will be the first of its kind to inject green gas into the national grid and generate fuel for vehicles by reusing food waste from local businesses, breweries, hotels and restaurants. The facility will also be used as a showcase project, with other businesses encouraged to visit the site to see the potential of the new technology at first hand.

The new funding was highlighted by Will Pope, chair designate of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), at a conference today in London designed to help businesses seize opportunities of incorporating sustainability into their business practices.

Lyn McGoff, technical development manager for Bio Group Ltd explained: “The facility has been designed to take advantage of the most recent developments in this field, and will be the first of its kind to generate renewable energy which will be made available to the gas grid. Alongside the direct benefits we hope the facility will act as a catalyst for other businesses to consider using the same low-carbon technology. We aim to achieve this by offering companies the change to come and find out more about the system and, hopefully, look at replicating this model in their own area.”

Due for completion in the summer, the anaerobic digester uses naturally occurring bacteria, acting without oxygen, to break down up to 12,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into biogas. As with any process there will be by-products, but even these are reused, with the liquid waste being utilised as fertiliser for farm land and the CO2 produced during the process potentially being used to grow algae, which is in turn recycled through the digester.

Lyn continued: “The facility will have a considerable impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region, saving at least 50,000 tonnes of CO2 compared to landfill and up to 2,400 tonnes a year from fuel use. That’s the equivalent of just over 33,000 flights from London to New York!”

“The digester will also have a positive impact on the local economy with an estimated 5% saving in landfill costs for every customer who uses the facility and creating new jobs in the area.”

The whole project is set to cost in the region of £2.7 million and will benefit from £1,187,397 million funding from the ERDF, which is managed by East of England Development Agency (EEDA) which is also making an additional financial contribution.

David Morrall, European director, EEDA said: “Moving towards a low-carbon economy is a necessity, not a choice. The East of England is the leading region for developing innovative ideas and products in renewable technologies but there are massive international markets we still need to work hard to exploit fully. It is therefore essential that projects like this are used to demonstrate innovative low carbon technology, which will inspire other organisations and businesses to consider similar projects.

“This technology has an excellent track record in the conversion of waste products but its use in the generation of renewable energy is still in its infancy. The Adnams Bio Energy facility is, therefore, particularly exciting as it is at the forefront of the developments in anaerobic digestion and is a terrific example of how modern technology can be used to reduce waste and lower carbon emissions in the region.”

The Adnams Bio Energy facility will be built on the site of the Adnams brewery at Reydon, Southwold and a waste collection service for local businesses will be established. Any businesses interested finding out more about the facility, and visiting the site, or in providing waste food matter to the digester should contact Lyn McGoff at lynn.mcgoff@crservices.co.uk.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a seven-year investment programme part financed by the European Union. Its objective is ‘towards low carbon economic growth’ in the East of England and €110.9 million has been allocated to our region.

The fund aims to help small and medium size enterprises respond to the challenges of climate change and the huge commercial potential behind a low carbon economy.

With more funding available until 2013, the ERDF programme is set to play a big role in helping our businesses and communities seize the opportunities of a low carbon economy. For more information visit www.eeda.org.uk/erdf

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. EEDA’s vision is for the East of England to be an ideas driven region that is internationally competitive, harnesses the talent of all and is at the forefront of the low carbon economy. For further information visit www.eeda.org.uk

An independent report from PA Consulting and SQW published on 31 March 2009 showed that EEDA has had a positive impact on the region’s economy. The report drew on evaluations of over 60 per cent of EEDA investment between 2002-07. It found that for an investment of £142 million, between £525 million and £820 million of wealth has already been created for the region. This represents a return on investment of £3.70 to £5.80 for every £1 invested - with a mid point of £4.75.

With future benefits of projects and programmes taken into account, EEDA’s contribution to the regional economy would be worth between £874 million and £1.3 billion. This would represent a return on investment of between £6.10 and £9.10 for every £1 invested – with a mid point of £7.60.

Bio Group is dedicated to working with both the public and private sectors to help mitigate the growing threat of global climate change and bring about real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Bio Group is the UK’s foremost business of it’s type, specialising in the design, build and operation of facilities which divert organic waste from landfill, but which also produce renewable energy and vitally important soil conditioners as key elements of the process. For further information email: info@BioGroup.co.uk