Topics at a Glance
AD in Farming, soil quality and loss of carbon content, CAP + farm support
Farming is responsible for over 20% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Whilst it is widely understood that AD can play an important part in decreasing those emissions, there is less understanding of the overwhelmingly positive environmental effects that digestates can bring to the soil by replenishing its organic carbon content. 95% of our food comes from soil yet 40% of soils are eroded, it is time for this environmental problem, and relative solutions, to be taken seriously.
Food waste Collections – WBA/C40 report and commitments
WBA and C40 present their ground breaking global report on food waste: prevention, collection, treatment. C40 will present the report in over 90 cities globally and with WBA in conferences worldwide. The report is a practical guide for cities and countries that highlights how important food waste treatment is to achieve the goals of reducing GHG emissions. How AD can assist in meeting these challenges is a central theme of the report.
Biomethane for Transport, RTFO, city plans
Using biomethane in place of diesel lorries and buses reduces air pollution, which is currently polluting the air to the point that it breaches the World Health Organisation recommended limits. The Department for Transport has shown a longer-term commitment by proposing amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) that will increase the proportion of renewable fuel in the UK from 4.75% to 9.75% by 2020 and further to 12.4% by 2032. But can the AD industry take advantage of the reformed RTFO? Previously arguing that a floor price for certificates was required, can AD be part of the solution without this?
Climate Change and Carbon Budget
The UK government, like in most countries worldwide, is under pressure to act on policies to mitigate climate change. The independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has highlighted the gap between the policies required for the government to meet its own targets under the Climate Change Act and the policies currently in place. The government has now published its Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), with a number of measures to address this gap. However, this is unlikely to be sufficient given the scale of the challenge for even 2020 targets, let alone for 2032. As AD can dramatically reduce emissions it will be essential to meeting climate objectives both in the UK and around the world. But will the Industrial Strategy create a strong framework for delivery of the CGS?
Circular Economy + packages, industrial policy
By July 2018 the European Commission should have finalised its long awaited Circular Economy package, laying down new targets for waste recycling, landfill use, biowaste collections, and cleaner production. What will the CE package look like in its final version and how will this impact the AD industry nationally and around Europe?
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is currently only confirmed until 2020/21, and so far even the changes the government is planning to introduce to make the RHI more workable for AD have still not been laid before Parliament for approval. But using biogas or biomethane for heat (whether by injection on to the grid or through local hot water systems) is not only important for the climate impacts of displacing fossil heat. Green gas has huge energy security benefits – with UK reserves of gas declining, home-grown biomethane adds to the energy mix.
The nature of the AD industry often means it faces challenges to new plant authorisation from citizens concerned about the impacts of the site on their neighbourhood. Whilst many such concerns are unfounded there is a need to address them in a coherent and strategic manner. This includes communications work that involves communities in understanding the realities of the potential impact of sites. Furthermore, with the government in England considering the cost-benefits of further food waste collections, and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland already having introduced them, communication of these new services is key. Food waste collectors need to communicate the environmental and economic benefits of recycling food waste to the general public and businesses, but which methods are most effective and least expensive?
Post Brexit AD Industry/ The impact of Brexit on AD
According to the Institute for Government, a daunting 1,200 EU laws relate to the environment and food production. Therefore, leaving the EU will at best be a complex task for affected Department’s to transfer the relevant EU Regulations and Directives into UK law. But decisions need to be made by the UK government on whether Directives such as the Renewable Energy Directive and Waste Framework Directive (including recycling targets) will be introduced before the UK leaves the European Union. If these laws and targets aren’t introduced, they should be replaced by equally-robust legislation. Will the government show the necessary commitment to adequately substitute those directives?
Gas to Grid
The addition of renewable gas into the grid will help the UK minimise its carbon footprint and avert from unsustainable fossil fuels, whilst increasing the security and diversity of energy supplies. However the discussions continue, on what would be best, should we inject only biomethane? Should we have a mixed injection, or should we transform the entire grid and move to hydrogen?
A call from ECOFIN for a carbon price to help create a low carbon European economy and the introduction of the Emissions Trading Systems post 2020 could have implications for our sector. Here speakers will analyse what those possible implications may be.
The AD Certification Scheme (ADCS)
ADBA’s AD Certification Scheme (ADCS), launched in December 2017, has now certified the first plants. ADCS improves performance of AD plants, reducing costs, and helping participants increase output and profitability. Discover the benefits of this scheme, and how you can get involved.