Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leading UK Anaerobic Digestion Companies Merge

Two of the firms to first pioneer the use of anaerobic digestion technology for the treatment of municipal solid waste in the UK have merged in a move which they claim will "significantly change" the face of the industry.

BIOGEN (UK) Ltd, which runs a flagship 42,000 tonne-a-year capacity AD plant at Twinwoods in Bedfordshire, has taken over Shropshire-based engineering company Greenfinch.

Greenfinch runs a 5,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant in Ludlow which was the first full-scale AD facility to treat municipal waste in the UK (see story) and is one of Defra's New Technologies Demonstrator projects.

The new company, entitled BiogenGreenfinch, now plans to deliver "a fully integrated AD solution to the agricultural, food, waste and water industries and to local authorities" and will employ 43 people.

Michael Chesshire, founder of Greenfinch and technology director of BiogenGreenfinch, said: "Britain needs a strong home grown AD industry and BiogenGreenfinch brings together the expertise and resources of two pioneering companies which have invested heavily in the development of the technology for food waste, for agriculture and for the water industry."

He added: "Interest in AD has increased enormously over the past two years because of its strong credentials as a low carbon technology, addressing the challenges of landfill diversion, energy costs, fertiliser costs and resource management."

Biogen build and operate AD plants to convert food waste and animal slurry into energy and biofertilser. Its facilities treat food waste from local authorities and food manufacturers and slurry from a pig farming operation run by its parent company, Bedfordia.

Greenfinch is an engineering company that provides AD technology for sewage, slurry and food waste treatment. It designed, built and runs the South Shropshire Biodigester in Ludlow.


Dan Poulson, chief executive of BiogenGreenfinch said: "This is an exciting milestone for both companies. BiogenGreenfinch has secured funding from Bedfordia Group plc which has invested a total of £18m to develop the business. The consolidation of two such complementary businesses enables a significant increase in research and development investment, improving further on the second generation AD plant currently under construction and ten further plants in development."

An AD facility planned by BIOGEN is currently under construction at Westwood, near Rushden in Northamptonshire, and is set to process 45,000 tonnes of food waste each year and produce enough electricity to power 2,000 homes. It is expected to be operational by March next year (see story).

John Ibbett, chairman of BiogenGreenfinch and of Bedfordia Group said: "We feel privileged and delighted to be joining forces. Both Biogen and Greenfinch have grown from family businesses with strong values and these will continue to be upheld."

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