Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Selby Yorkshire Anaerobic Digestion Plant Goes to Planning

£20m green energy plant raises hopes of 120 jobs

Published Date: 08 November 2008
By Mark Branagan
MORE than 120 jobs will be created in the Selby area under a £20m scheme announced yesterday to produce enough green energy from left-over food to light up the entire town.

Planning consent is being sought for a renewable power plant – by Grantham-based Whites Renewable Energy – on the site of the former Tate and Lyle citric acid plant, with its motorway links via the Selby by-pass.

Developers say the eight-acre Selby Renewable Energy Park would create 120 jobs for the town, 40 directly and 80 indirectly. It would also generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 10,800 homes for a year via the National Grid – equivalent to the whole of the town.

The plant would use the latest technology for treating organic waste, particularly food waste, in Britain, called anaerobic digestion. The process involves sealing off organic matter in containers with no oxygen and breaking it down into a gas used to generate power.

Because the raw material is kitchen scraps the system has the advantage over other bio-fuels that it is not increasing demand for food products and pushing up High Street prices. There is also a fertiliser by-product that can help grow crops.

Whites managing director David Balderson said: "Anaerobic digestion is widely recognised by the Government and Friends of the Earth as one of the best solutions for disposing of organic waste.

"Everyone wins, as the waste is treated in a sealed process reducing the generation of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. A clean, renewable fuel is produced which can be used to create electricity and heat."

The plant will also provide a potential low-cost heat source for local businesses. An anaerobic digester already exists on the site, which is currently being updated. The proposal is to build two similar pieces of equipment.

Mr Balderson added: "This project will provide a significant boost to the local economy by creating jobs and will also make available a cheap non-fossil fuel heat source that will attract businesses to the area."

The firm says the initial response from the community has been very positive, as has that of the Government-backed Waste and Resources Action Program and Future Energy Yorkshire, an arm of Yorkshire Forward which promotes renewable energy projects.

Future Energy project manager Jo Adlard said: "The Yorkshire and Humber region has an important role to play in helping the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

"The proposed Selby Renewable Energy Park will contribute to our regional emissions reduction targets by generating renewable energy for export to the National Grid, while diverting large quantities of waste from landfill."

A report by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has already underlined the Government's wish for local authorities and businesses to make anaerobic digestion first choice for disposing of the 15-20 million tonnes of waste food in Britain every year.

Government experts say it has significant benefits over other technologies, is the preferred method in other EU states, and has the potential to power two million UK homes. More...

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