An anaerobic digestion facility in Suffolk has become the first plant in the UK to produce renewable gas from brewery and local food waste for export to the National Grid, and only the second AD plant in the UK to inject biomethane into the gas network.
Adnams Bio Energy delivered the first biomethane late last week (October 8) from its AD plant in Southwold; just three days after Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire celebrated being the first project to send renewable gas produced from sewage to the grid (see this NewEnergyFocus.com story).
In partnership with British Gas and National Grid, Adnams Bio Energy says it will generate up to 4.8 million kWh per year, which it claims is enough to heat around 235 family homes for a year.
In the future, the facility will also produce enough renewable gas to power the Adnams brewery and run its fleet of lorries while still leaving up to 60% of the output for injection into the National Grid.
Waitrose is the first business to sign up to supply waste to the facility and has committed to sending food waste from seven of its nearby branches, along with a John Lewis.
Commenting on the project, Mike Walters, recycling and waste operations manager for Waitrose and John Lewis, said: "We are delighted to be the first retailer to become involved with Adnams Bio Energy in this exciting project.
He added: "This project is unique as it produces renewable gas from brewery and food waste for injection into the national gas grid rather than to generate electricity."
The Adnams Bio Energy plant consists of three digesters, which are sealed vessels in which naturally-occurring bacteria act without oxygen to break down up to 12,500 tonnes of organic waste each year. The result is the production of renewable gas as well as a liquid organic fertiliser.
In addition, following an agreement with British Gas, Adnams Bio Energy has deployed solar thermal panels and will shortly install photovoltaic cells to generate renewable electricity for the plant.
The deal will ensure that all of the site, including the Adnams Distribution Centre, will be using renewable energy generated on-site with some surplus energy available for export.
Chief Executive of Adnams, Andy Wood, commented: "We are delighted that Adnams Bio Energy is located on the site of our eco-distribution centre. For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams' brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.
"The industrial ecology cycle is completed when the fertiliser produced from the anaerobic digestion process can be used on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer. This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region and the production of renewable energy. The food waste would otherwise be destined for landfill, but processing it through the digester will save an estimated 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from landfill."
Construction of the AD plant concluded in July (see this NewEnergyFocus.com story).