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Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant Will Be East Anglia’s Largest So Far

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Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Deerdykes

Monsal’s 30,000 t food waste and energy centre in Scotland (Courtesy Monsal)

The march toward UK wide domestic and commercial food waste processing, using the Anaerobic Digestion process, is well and truly on its way now, with the announced start last week (24th January 2011) in March, Cambridgeshire, of a new Anaerobic DigestionPlant. It will  be owned and operated by green energy company ”Local Generation” using technology provided by Monsal.

To put this announcement into context, construction has begun on the biggest food waste digestion plant yet in the East Anglian region, which will process 30,000 tonnes of both packaged and unpackaged food waste each year, and the plant will be up and running before the end of 2011.

Monsal, who state in their press release that they are the UK’s leading supplier of Anaerobic Digestion ( AD ) technology and services have so far possibly not been so well known until now as a “multi food waste” (packaged and unpackaged food waste) AD technology supplier, due to their much higher profile as water industry sludge digestion specialists.

Monsal is the company that never lost faith with the AD process right through the post-war period when during the times of abundant cheap carbonaceous fuel resourced energy, AD became a rarity and a novelty. Of course nowadays AD is viable economically and much sought after as an energy source, but for many years when fuel was cheap this was not so. However, Monsal kept building AD Plants for the wastewater treatment industry simply to provide an environmentally responsible method of sewage sludge disposal. That the Sewage Works Manager could run his own car and a fleet of tanker vehicles, on the methane biogas produced, for free, was at that time seen as slightly eccentric.

At March, Monsal are providing the technology for green energy company “Local Generation”, for whom it will be their first AD facility. The plant will transform thirty thousand tons of both packed and unpackaged food waste, every year into clean green energy.

Nick Waterman, Director of Local Generation, announced:

“This is an exciting time for the Local Generation business .  It is all systems go now to get our first AD plant up and running!  We are really looking forward to seeing our plant take shape.  I would like to recognise the excellent support and specifically the Capital Grant received from the UK government’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in helping us to progress this exciting project.”

He added that the team are looking forward to establishing this plant as a sustainable alternative to landfill that will benefit the region’s economy and its ecology.  “We’re genuinely excited about providing an efficient and ethical alternative for dealing with the region’s waste”.

Companies also involved in the scheme are Wardell-Armstrong, Firbeck Construction, Authentic Marketing and Boyarsky Murphy Architects.

The team clearly appreciate that they are helping to create a supportable alternative choice to the “rubbish heap and landfill”, and that this will be of benefit to the region’s economy and its ecology.

Monsal’s M. D. Aidan Cumiskey also pointed out that the plant will supply valuable recycling and replenishable energy capacity for the area. He said that Monsal have the experience to provide the technology to handle a wide range of food waste from their operational experience on the UK elsewhere, and they are well positioned to target solid, slurry, and liquid food waste with heavy levels of contamination.

These kinds of facilities have to be flexible to handle the high variability in feedstocks found with multi food waste contracts. Meanwhile, elsewhere Monsal are implementing a policy of working with other leading developers and waste product management firms to build a number of food waste recycling and energy centres across the United Kingdom.

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