The new facility in Boston, Lincolnshire would offer a great opportunity to demonstrate to the industry the effectiveness of the technology and the confidence companies have in AD as a sustainable technology, a spokesperson for Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The facility will produce 11m kilowatt hours of electricity per year. It was funded by the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF) – a collaboration between Defra, DECC and WRAP.
The technology at the Staples’ facility is capable of processing 40,000 tonnes of out of specification and by-passed vegetables.
Control over power pricing
According to WRAP, the technology will also benefit Staples by reducing running costs.
Digestate will replace inorganic fertiliser, heat will be captured for office heating, innovative heat absorption coolers will chill the processing areas, and electricity generated will power the plant.
Vernon Read, Managing Director at Staples said: “The project will provide integrated power generation giving us control not only over future pricing of power, but also over power security.”
The benefits of AD technology would be felt, not only by Staples, but local authorities, communities and businesses across the UK “as this technology becomes increasingly mainstream”, saidMarcus Gover, director of Market Development at WRAP.
Gover claims that AD forms “a growing part of the resource efficiency solution”. This is achieved by reducing biodegradable waste from landfill and thereby reducing methane emissions, creating renewable energy, stimulating the green economy and improving the sustainability of commercial agriculture.
AD is a biological process that happens naturally when bacteria breaks down organic matter such as food, in environments with little or no oxygen. It is a treatment that composts waste and produces a biogas that can be used to generate electricity and heat.
According to the spokesperson the technology has already gathered a lot of interest from the industry. There are currently three additional government supported AD facilities opening in Spring this year, with over 30 more in the planning stage.