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ADBA’s Board strengthened to support AD surge

UK AD & Biogas 2015 will demonstrate that it’s time to step on the gas with anaerobic digestion (AD) – and industry trade body ADBA has added two new board members to do just that. The Association is aiming to strengthen its leadership across all of the sectors which can benefit from AD as the technology continues to expand towards its full potential over the next five years.

Last month ADBA announced three new board appointments covering the waste and local authority sectors, and today we can announce two further appointments covering the water and farming sectors:

  • Maxine Mayhew, Group Commercial Director of Northumbrian Water; and
  • George Gittus, Suffolk NFU County Chairman and owner of Symonds Farm Power Ltd.

Maxine’s wealth of experience at Northumbrian Water will help advice industry on the importance of operational efficiency and on maximising value from AD outputs. Energy generation from sewage gas has increased by over 25 per cent over the past five years, and the water companies have a strong focus on research and development. If the knowledge and innovation that has built up in the water sector is disseminated across the rest of the industry, it could help AD extract greater value from existing inputs.

Whilst AD has been well established in the water sector for decades, the farming sector is just taking off. The number of agricultural plants doubled to 139 in the last year alone – and there are still many more in the pipeline. This is therefore just the beginning of a rapidly developing on-farm AD market, given the NFU’s prediction that there could be as many as 1,000 on-farm AD plants in the UK by 2020. George’s farming background and role as Suffolk’s regional NFU representative will help ADBA support farmers who want to diversify into AD to support their businesses.

ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:

Anaerobic digestion has an exciting five years ahead, and as the industry’s trade body we need a strong, diverse board representing all sectors of the industry to provide the knowledge and leadership that can help our members realise the industry’s full potential – supplying 30 per cent of domestic gas demand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 4 per cent, supporting a £100 billion bioeconomy and helping our farmers to keep farming through improved food security and production. We’re delighted to add Maxine and George to our board’s considerable bank of knowledge and expertise.

As an established technology offering a host of different energy and non-energy benefits, our aim now is to capitalise on the significant innovative and entrepreneurial achievements of the past five years and continue to expand our industry.

Commenting on her appointment to the ADBA board, Maxine Mayhew commented:

At Northumbrian Water we are very proud of the fact that 100% of our sludge is used in AD to generate green power, and for the UK in general anaerobic digestion and the use of bioresources are a key part of delivering a sustainable energy generation strategy both today and for the future.  However, it’s important that we ensure that AD continues to grow and maximise its economic and environmental potential through stable policy frameworks as well as a collective effort to overcome technical barriers.

I look forward to helping ADBA deliver its ambitious goals and support its members to embed AD and bioresources as the best economic and environmental solution and to realise its potential.

George Gittus added:

The food versus fuel debate is not going to go away and I am passionate that it is an issue that can be defended. There are many strands to that, which mean that AD can make an effective contribution to the UK’s energy generating matrix and fuel supply options.

You only have to look at Reading’s biomethane fuelled “Bus Hound” breaking the speed record to see what is possible. Biomethane powered tractors are also on the near horizon, so for the farming community we shall be able to return to providing our own fuel for the “horsepower” we need.

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