Energy from Waste Food

February 1, 2010 · Filed Under news · Comment 

In the past, ancient solar energy stored as fossil fuel has been so cheap that there has been little incentive to find ways to waste less. Similarly, with current solar energy collected by plants, not only do we waste the energy in millions of tonnes of waste food that goes in to landfill, but the methane gas given off – unless collected – is a very powerful greenhouse gas.

 

There are now encouraging signs that this is starting to change. A fantastic example is the potato packing and processing plant belonging to Fenmark in Cambridgeshire. Their new anaerobic digestion unit will divert thirty thousand tonnes of food waste each year from landfill to generate electricity and provide heat for water and space heating with the by-product sold as a soil conditioner.

 One small step towards food security.

Energy and Fertilizer from Waste

July 7, 2009 · Filed Under solutions · Comment 

When the world realises that there is a limit to the natural resources that the earth can provide, we will have to stop wasting energy and nutrient rich “waste” such as animal manure and waste food.

In Europe, anaerobic digestion is widely used to deal with these materials and is now catching on here in the UK.

At Biogen Greenfinch, managing director Andrew Needham uses 12,000 tonnes of pig slurry plus 30,000 tonnes of food waste from Waitrose, Sainsbury and local authorities each year to generate renewable energy with the digestate being used as a fertiliser across 600 acres of arable land.

On Owen Yeatman’s farm in North Devon, 8,000 tonnes of manure and 3,500 tonnes of maize every year goes in to his digester to power a 270KW generator. By using the digestate as a fertiliser, Mr Yeatman has stopped buying nitrogen fertiliser. He estimates that his digester unit will have paid for itself in 5 years.

Biogas from Waste

February 21, 2009 · Filed Under climate change · Comment 

Has the government at last realised that it is crazy not to extract value from so called waste?

At the moment the UK produces over 12 million tons of food waste each year, most of which ends up in expensive landfill. In addition, animal manures are often treated as a nuisance at intesive livestock units.

Speaking at the National Farmers Union conference last week, Farming Minister Jane Kennedy announced plans to use manure, food waste, and slurry to create heat, power and fuel for transport, using anaerobic digestion.

A biogas task force is being set up to build upon the NFU’s vision of 1,000 biogas plants on farms by 2020. Ms Kennedy said that waste material could produce enough heat and power to run more than two million homes – helping to prevent dangerous climate change by providing a renewable energy source as well as reducing our relience on landfill.