The new 30,000 tonne plant will transform food waste into renewable energy and practical green products using a natural process called anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic Digestion is beneficial to the environment as it reduces harmful emissions which destroy the ozone layer and offers waste producers an alternative to rising landfill costs. The process is widely regarded as one of the leading solutions for the reduction of methane gas and it is predicted that the site could reduce local landfill by as much as 30,000 tonnes per year. Once open the plant will produce green electricity and heat as well as a soil conditioner for farmers reducing the need for fossil fuel derived inorganic fertilizer.
The process of anaerobic digestion can handle all types of food waste. The plant will sort, de-package and process waste to form a slurry mixture which is then heated and pasteurised. Organic materials will be broken down by micro-organisms which will produce biogas, that is then used to generate electricity and heat.
Building of the plant has taken place throughout 2011, funded by shareholders and a grant of £1.425m from WRAP. Funds to complete the last part of the phase one plant and to cover initial operating costs, of £2.1m have been provided by RBS. Run by an experienced management team, Local Generation see the March site as the first in a portfolio of green energy plants as the UK faces up to energy generation challenges. The March plant has created 10 new jobs.
Speaking about progress at the plant and his hopes for the future, Local Generation managing director, Nick Waterman said: “A lot of hard work is about to come to fruition with the completion of the plant build. Then again, there is a lot of hard work ahead once we start the plant up! However the result – making a really positive contribution to the environment – is worth it. There are huge opportunities for transforming to a low carbon economy. Here at Local Generation we feel proud to be playing our part in helping to meet the UK’s stated renewable energy targets. Once open and operational we will be supporting the local community both through renewable energy production and job creation.”
John Gell, relationship director at RBS who facilitated the funding with the asset finance provider Lombard added: “The UK has adopted some stretching renewable energy targets. Anaerobic Digestion is proven to make a difference. Nick and his team have shown a lot of foresight in the March operation and will become a valuable contributor to the local economy once operational.”