Earlier this month, Lord Henley – the UK Environment Minister – visited an “anaerobic digestion” plant near Rushden, Northamptonshire, to discover how out-of-date supermarket food and commercial waste is being converted into electricity.
Reported on the DEFRA web site (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Lord Henley found the plant capable of processing 45.000 tonnes of waste food each year and generating enough electricity to power two thousand, seven hundred homes.
The process takes waste such as animal manure, sewage sludge and waste food, and converts it into a methane-rich biogas which can be used to generate heat and power for domestic and commercial installations, as well as providing an environmentally friendly fuel for transport. The UK produces about 100 million tonnes of this waste each year which could instead generate up to 7% of the renewable energy required in the UK by 2020.
Notes – Using biodegradable waste to generate a source of power will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites. It is estimated that each tonne of food waste which is reprocessed will save 0.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
There are currently 37 anaerobic digestion plants in the UK already in operation, with another 60 under construction or at the planning stage.
To see how the domestic household could contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in their own home and save money as well, visit our blog on “Saving Money through Home Improvements”.