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MEMBER’S PRESS RELEASE: Cast your vote for community micro AD project

Please cast your vote for this project in the M&S Community Energy Fund  

Please vote for us and support us in our quest to raise funds for a new and exciting energy project in East London as part of our ongoing project R-Urban Wick. We are building a mobile micro anaerobic digester (AD) to demonstrate a localised waste to energy loop. AD is an established technology that transforms all organic waste (except wood) into useful by-products. Microorganisms digest the waste, emitting methane and carbon dioxide in the process. This biogas is captured for use as a clean, renewable fuel, the remaining material can be utilised as a nutrient-rich liquid fertiliser.

Community energy is growing in rural communities, but is still rare in urban areas. Cities are full of low carbon sources of energy such as biomass from thrown away food but exploiting these energy sources locally requires cost effective, small-scale technical solutions tailored to specific sites and resources.

This project addresses that challenge by developing a community built and run micro Anaerobic Digester that uses local organic waste to create heat, power and fertiliser. It will be part of a brand new mobile, off-grid community garden, providing green energy and nutrients for other garden initiatives like community food-growing, café and bike repair workshop. The project not only serves the need for sustainable energy, it also drives innovation in small-scale community energy production, offers a pilot project for learning and sharing knowledge with other community groups, and demonstrates the potential for urban energy projects to help us become more empowered producers and consumers of energy.

We are now asking for further funding of £12,500 to expand this ambitious project. The money would allow us to go truly off-grid, implement solar heating to heat the digester, build a water harvesting system, and invest in a cargo bike for waste food collection.

Cast your vote by going to the M&S Energy website here.

About R-Urban Wick

The project 'R-Urban Wick' started in 2012 as a programme of events, workshops and debates in the London neighbourhood of Hackney Wick, directly engaging with local residents and businesses around the issue of localised energy production, material re-use, and sharing economies. Hackney Wick is located directly next to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, an area which is currently undergoing rapid urban development. Against this backdrop of top down transformation R-Urban Wick has been conceived as a bottom-up initiative that aims to enhance the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementarities between key fields of activity such as urban agriculture, material re-use, culture and energy production. After three years of intensive collaborative work, several key projects are taking shape, which are facilitated by public works (initiators of R-Urban Wick) in close collaboration with local participants and stakeholders. Besides the AD project we are currently working on a tool lending library, an open wood re-use workshop and a communal sauna. Housed in shipping containers, they will be located alongside a Mobile Community Garden within the Olympic development site. So far we have successfully secured seed funding from University College London’s Public Engagement unit, through the UCL Energy Institute and in kind funding from other local agencies such as free land-use, donation of shipping containers and others.

About LEAP
LEAP is a cross-sector partnership combining engineering, process modeling, community engagement and environmental education skills to develop micro anaerobic digestion – a small-scale renewable technology, which turns organic waste into clean fuel and liquid fertiliser. LEAP envisions a future where decentralized, closed-loop waste management and intensive urban agriculture is combined to reduce food and waste miles.

With two demonstration sites in Central London, we are currently optimising the technology and hope to support the creation of green jobs. Advocating a local approach to the organic circular economy, we aim to empower communities and bring environmental and economic benefits to both urban and rural areas.

We have developed training workshops and an educational schools programme, and hope to establish an open source platform to accelerate global collaboration and support the uptake of closed-loop solutions.

About the UCL energy institute
The UCL Energy Institute delivers world-leading learning, research and policy support on the challenges of climate change and energy security. Our approach blends expertise from across UCL, to make a truly interdisciplinary contribution to the development of a globally sustainable energy system. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment

UCL Energy supports action research projects, which aim to learn from and support participants as they implement solutions to real world problems. Community Energy is recognised as having the potential to transform the UK’s energy system and put energy consumers into the centre of small-scale production, distribution and use networks. This project offers an opportunity to understand the challenges and benefits of groups who take this step. The project has the potential to contribute to broader understanding of the potential of community energy and closed loop cycles. Using micro AD in an urban environment to bring together food waste reduction, green energy production and support for local community initiatives is novel and offers great learning potential.

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