Trade bodies launch initiative to help identify spare anaerobic digestion capacity across the UK
Two of the UK's leading green energy trade bodies, the REA and ADBA, are calling on companies operating in the anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas sector to provide information on current capacity levels, in a bid to help tackle a spike in organic waste caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Environment Agency and devolved nations' have expressed concern that one of the side effects of the lockdown has been an increase food waste caused by the closure of markets for food and drink producers, such as farms, fisheries and breweries, as well as changes to consumer shopping habits.
In response, the REA and ADBA have launched a joint survey that aims to match organic waste producers with their nearest AD operators.
The UK-wide survey aims to help identify suitable AD plants for the various feedstock types that are now available. It also aims to assist Defra, regulatory bodies, and industries that generate biodegradable waste in identifying the overall spare capacity available to treat feedstock so that as much organic waste can be processed as possible in a way that cuts methane emissions and generates renewable energy.
ADBA and the REA said they will use the information from the survey to match suitable AD operators with the farmers and other food/drinks supply chain organisations that have surpluses that needs to be recycled.
"It is our role as associations to ensure that our members and the wider industry can operate as normally as possible through these unprecedented times," said Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA. "With lockdown measures resulting in a drop in feedstock supplies in AD plants, this survey is a valuable tool that will not only aid the AD operators business continuity but prevent surplus waste from being disposed of in an inefficient and environmentally unfriendly manner."
Her comments were echoed by Charlotte Morton, chief executive of ADBA, who said the survey would help the AD industry to "proactively play its part in supporting farmers and food and drinks producers with their surplus feedstock".
"Most importantly, [AD] delivers a solution that not only tackles the current waste surplus crisis, but also, by recycling organic wastes into biogas for power, heat and transport as well as biofertilisers for agriculture, sustains the economy and establishes a building block towards a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic," she added. "We are proud to deliver such a valuable service to society and urge all AD operators to complete the survey so that our industry's potential to help is fully assessed and realised, now and in the future."
Plus all the other key green business developments from around the world this week
Company seeking approval from Science Based Targets initiative for 1.5C climate goals covering its business and value chain