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ADBA National Conference 2022 to make the business case for anaerobic digestion in ensuring energy and food security for the UK

ADBA National Conference 2022 to make the business case for anaerobic digestion in ensuring energy and food security for the UK
The event, hosted by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, will take place in London on 8th December.

Faced with the energy crisis currently affecting not just the UK but much of the world, the British government is overlooking the gift that is anaerobic digestion (AD), despite the business case for AD development growing stronger by the day.

This is the context in which the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) will hold its National Conference on 8th December. At its full potential, AD could meet 25% of the UK domestic gas demand and insulate customers from rocketing energy prices, which in turn send the costs to farmers and the food industry spiralling. The price of chemical fertilisers and CO2 have also increased dramatically, which is reflected in higher costs for food produce in the shops.

The AD sector provides a strategic solution to these crises, generating biogas, a biofertiliser (digestate) and bio-CO2 as readily available, homegrown alternatives – and furthermore, they are environmentally friendly.

Investment in AD offers an immediate answer to the current crises, as the sector is capable of delivering energy and food security for the UK in the short term, while addressing the climate emergency,” says Chris Huhne, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and now chairman of ADBA. “Unlike a nuclear reactor, an AD plant can be built within two years. The sector already delivers the equivalent of 42% of the power generated by the UK’s nuclear industry. This could double within a few years.

“Given that we have a new administration in place,” he continues, “this will be a pivotal conference, setting out a roadmap for AD to support the development of a resilient and sustainable economy in the UK at a time of global instability and a clear acceleration of climate change impacts.

“The guardians of the Paris Agreement have concluded AD is the cheapest and most cost-effective way to keep global warming below 2˚C”, he adds. “The UK is a signatory of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions by 30% against 2020 levels. Treating organic wastes through AD is the most effective way of achieving these – preventing methane from rising into the atmosphere whilst generating bioenergy, biofertilisers and bioCO2. It’s a no brainer.”

The conference, to be held at One Great George Street in Westminster, London SW1, will make the business case for AD, including how it can deliver a market-led solution to the current crises. It will also report back on COP27, which is set to deliver a pledge on reducing wastes by 50% and call for a Just Nature Transition to align with the Just Energy Transition.

In afternoon breakout sessions, the conference will discuss how to bring digestate to market, best practice in AD, AD electricity generators, and the role of Local Authorities in delivering Net Zero growth in the UK.

Confirmed speakers include Lord Deben, Chair of the UK Climate Change Committee; Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Green New Deal and Energy; Russell Smyth, KPMG; James Richardson, National Infrastructure Commission; Dr Norman Ebner, Oxford Martin’s School; Sue Jefferson, Circular Malton and Norton; alongside senior representatives from BioCapital, Air Liquide and other key industry players.

To view the full programme and register, click here.


For further information and to request your media accreditation, contact:
Jocelyne Bia, Senior Communications Consultant
e:; tel: 020 3176 0592

Notes to editors

  • The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is the trade association for the UK anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry. ADBA’s vision is to see the full potential of the UK AD industry realised so it can help the UK achieve its emissions targets and other policy goals, creating a truly circular economy.
  • About the AD industry
    • There are currently 702 AD plants operational in the UK.
    • The entire industry digests approximately 47 million tonnes of organic material each year organic material that would otherwise emit greenhouse gas if left untreated in landfill.
    • An estimated 19.4 TWh of biogas is produced each year by the AD industry – this green gas is either used to generate electricity and heat via a combined heat and power (CHP) unit or upgraded to biomethane and injected directly into the national gas grid. This is enough to heat 1.6 million UK homes.
    • The industry currently delivers 1.1% greenhouse gas savings in the UK every year, which would increase to 6% if all the UK’s organic wastes were recycled through AD.
    • An estimated 5,000 people are currently employed in the AD and biogas industry in the UK.
    • Fully deployed, by 2030, the UK AD and biogas industry expected to:
      • create 30,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs
      • save the UK 27m t of CO2 equivalent = taking 1/3rd of all cars off the road, by 2030.
      • heat 4.5-6.4 million UK homes with the 8 billion m3 of biomethane generated.
  • How AD works
    Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the natural breakdown of organic matter when deprived of oxygen in a container called digester. The process produces biogas and a residue called digestate – a stable, nutrient-rich substance used as a biofertiliser, which restores soil health.
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