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ADBA Scottish Conference 2020 Programme

Date: 8 September 2020; 09:00 – 17.00 

Scotland is ahead of the game when it comes to integrating waste and energy streams and food and farming production, to deliver net zero. The Scottish Conference will provide an overview of circular economy policy in Scotland and the contribution of AD in helping to deliver ‘net zero’ by 2045.

(The programme has been updated to reflect an online experience. Timings are subject to change)

09:00-10:00            Registration and networking

10:00-10:10           Welcome and introduction: AD’s role in achieving Net Zero Scotland

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association

10:10-10:30            Opening keynote: to be announced

10:30-12:00           Panel Session 1: AD’s role in the Scottish Green Recovery

AD is the ready to use technology that cuts emissions in the hardest to decarbonise sectors of heat, transport, waste management and agriculture. With Scotland preparing to host COP26 next year, it is vital that they are on the cutting edge of climate action, and biogas is key to delivering their Net Zero target – and global abatement goals. This panel will look at Scotland’s plans for achieving Net Zero, how these have been impacted by the coronavirus situation and where AD and biogas fit into the integrated response to the climate crisis.

The panel will include:

Gregor Auld, Just Transition Commission, Scottish Government

Gregor will set out the aims of the Just Transition Commission to deliver a sutainable future that does not only support environmental but also social justice. This includes the design and delivery of low carbon investment and infrastructure; creating opportunities to develop resource efficient and sustainable economic approaches; and planning, investment and implement in a transition to environmentally and socially sustainable jobs, sectors and economies.

Richard Gueterbock, Director, Food Chains

Richard will showcase the importance of AD in decarbonising industry, looking at the potential of on-site AD to decarbonise organic waste management for businesses, as well as how businesses can utilise outputs to cut energy and fuel emissions. The session will also consider the value delivered to the Scottish food manufacturing industry as AD helps minimise emissions while cutting costs.


One of SGNs biogas experts will explore the key points of the Scottish Government’s strategy, “Scotland’s electricity and gas networks: vision to 2030”. This  document addresses how changes to the gas and electricity infrastructures are vital to supporting a just transition to an integrated net zero energy system, based on local energy security. The session will consider how biogas and AD are integral to delivering this vision.

Martin Whiteford, Partner, Anderson Strathern

Martin will address the implications of post-Brexit environmental legislation as the country prepares for a new phase in international relations while having to ensure it is on track to deliver its Net Zero commitment. The session will look at how a strong legal framework can support the growth of AD in Scotland in this pivotal period for the sector as we prepare to maximise our contribution to decarbonisation in the next decade.

Panel Q&A discussion

12:00-12:45             Lunch & networking

12:45-14:15          Panel 2: Digestate quality – creating a valuable organic product for the farming industry

Many countries value AD for its invaluable service of recycling vital nutrients back to soil. Digestate, the renewable biofertilizer produced in the AD process, is a valuable source of nutrients and organic matter. However, there have been concerns about contamination and levels of micro-plastics being returned to soil from food waste digestate and as such Scotland recently introduced higher standards to mitigate this issue. This panel explores the impact of these new regulations on contamination levels, and on the receptiveness of the farming sector to utilise digestate. As such, the session also explores the barriers and challenges to more widespread uptake of this valuable bioresource.

This panel will include:

Fiona Donaldson, Senior Policy Officer – National Operations Waste UnitSEPA

Scotland recently reduced the acceptable contamination level of plastics in digestate to 8%. Fiona will discuss this and a range of other issues connected to utilising digestate as part of a circular approach to processing farm and food waste and recovering vital nutrients. She will provide an overview of how digestate can be best used, any challenges and barriers that exist, and where Scottish practice is leading the rest of the UK. She will also look at some recent research into the potential impact of digestate on earth worms.

Alistair Ewan, Executive Director, Scottish Quality Crops

Alistair will present on the introduction of the SQC Approved Digestate Scheme. The scheme, coming under SQC, was specifically introduced to address concerns of crop buyers about contamination from digestate.  Alistair will explain how the scheme came about, what it aims to achieve and the success it has already had, including their work with the Scottish Whisky Association.

Dr. Robin Szmidt, Director, Target Renewables

Robin will discuss dry AD as a way of improving digestate quality and increasing the organic matter returned to soil. He will look at the theory and the reality and the challenge of producing a PAS-accredited output. The session will also address how digestate quality impacts agriculture and horticulture and the challenges facing AD and the farming sector in achieving Net Zero for Scotland.

Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist / Director, Scottish Agronomy

Eric will explore the circular economy approach to practical utilisation of digestate on farms by presenting a scenario in which food production, renewable products and energy for our communities are provided in a sustainable manner.  Eric will discuss the process to recover vital nutrients back to Scotland’s soils and build soil resilience, whilst contributing to Scotland’s capability to achieve a circular bioeconomic society.  He will explore the use of digestate on farms in a zero-waste society that harnesses natural resources in harmony with ecosystems and utilises energy efficiently.

Panel Q&A Discussion

14:15-14:45             Networking break

14:45-16:15            Panel 3: Decarbonising waste management in Scotland – four years of separate food waste collections

With separate food waste collections implemented four years ago, well ahead of the EU requirement to implement this by 2023, Scotland is at the forefront of food waste collection. But as an early adopter, the policy will have encountered challenges that can help shape policies around the world. With preparations for COP26 well underway, this section looks at how Scotland can showcase lessons learnt in developing a low carbon food waste recycling system, identifying key successes, as well as aspects of the policy that can continually improve performance. The panel also looks at the importance of education in achieving low contamination levels and some examples of various different Local Authorities’ approaches.

Speakers include:

Adrian Bond, Programme Manager, Recycling, Zero Waste Scotland

The presentation will provide a review of Scottish local authority food waste collections, looking at the successes, and the past, current and future challenges.  It will also consider communication with the public to address both the quality and quantity of material collected.

Craig Fraser, Policy Officer, National Operations Waste UnitSEPA

Craig will be looking back at the approach taken to implement the separate collection of food waste and the importance of early engagement and collaborative working with industry. He will also outline the current regulatory approach for food waste including the ‘Duty to Recycle’ campaign and discuss SEPA’s use of enforcement tools in this area. Finally he will take a quick look at the impact of the regs on how much food waste is collected and where it ends up.

Euan Munro, Associate Process Engineer, SLR Consultants

Euan Munro, from SLR’s Edinburgh office, will share his insights on the perennial problem of contamination in food waste.  The presentation will introduce why it is such a serious issue, and then look at what means at our disposal to reduce its impact.  The talk will look at the full range of control measures, from preventing contamination at the source (i.e. people segregating their waste poorly) to the engineering solutions available to remove contamination before it enters the digester.

Panel Q&A discussion

16:15-17:00             Networking break

17:00                      Closing remarks

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association

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