The Scottish Government has recently launched an important consultation on its Circular Economy and Waste…
WELCOME TO THE FOOD WASTE ISSUE OF AD & BIOGAS NEWS
The amount of food that we waste as a nation has recently made headline news, highlighting the urgent need to cut down the amount of food we throw away as well as making the most of what’s left – a hugely valuable ‘resource’. The government in its 2011 Waste Review recognised anaerobic digestion (AD) as the ‘most environmentally friendly treatment option for food that can’t be eaten’. But it isn’t just the most environmentally friendly option – anaerobic digestion converts our organic wastes (food and garden waste, sewage and farm wastes) and crops into ultra low carbon flexible renewable gas capable of meeting around 10% of the UK’s domestic gas demand, whilst preserving the nutrients and organic matter for recycling back to land to support food production. Sending food waste to anaerobic digestion facilities rather than to landfill, IVC or other energy from waste facilities is therefore of huge strategic importance to the UK. And it’s not just the AD industry now recognising this – HGV fleet operators are driving hard to change their fleets from diesel to biomethane from AD.
Marking the third anniversary of our publication, this February issue of AD & Biogas News highlights in its cover feature (p.10-14) both the significant contribution anaerobic digestion can make to key UK targets, as well as the importance of obtaining high quality source segregated feedstock. However whilst source segregated feedstock – free from packaging and other impurities – helps the AD industry to extract the most value from this otherwise wasted resource, our equipment focus feature (p.14-15) shows a growing range of efficient technologies designed to separate quality feedstock from contaminants.
Anaerobic digestion also plays a key role in moving the UK towards a closed loop, circular economy, as was recognised recently in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s second report. In my opinion piece (p.4), I say that working towards a circular economy is the only way to generate the economic growth we need, whilst at the same time meeting the UK’s critical priorities, including climate change targets and our energy and food security. At the ADBA National Conference 2012 in December (review on p.16-19), many speakers, including Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group, confirmed that “our long term economic prosperity” is dependent on confronting climate change.
Climate change is also the biggest threat to our food security. Our soil delivers a vast range of services in addition to producing our food, energy and fibre – yet soil degradation and erosion has been happening at an ever faster rate with the intensification of food production in recent decades. Returning the nutrients and organic matter we take out of the soil helps protect it against climate change and reverse some of the damage caused by intensive farming. AD has a huge role to play in supporting climate smart farming. As Prince Charles declared at the opening of the UK’s first commercial scale gas to grid plant before Christmas, ‘AD is a virtuous circle’.
Encouragingly, more and more AD sites are coming online in the UK, including 54 waste-fed AD plants, as shown in our plant update (p.22-23). The industry still has barriers to overcome but the future looks bright for an AD revolution.
Also inside this issue:
- RO Sustainability Consultation (p.5)
- Low RHI uptake prompts DECC to reconsider tariffs (p.6)
- The ADBA National Conference 2012 review (p.16-19)
- ADBA continues to pressure JRC on End of Waste (p.20)
- Membership matters – world news (p.29)
I hope you enjoy this publication. If you haven’t contributed before and would like some free publicity, go to page 3 to see how you can be involved in our upcoming features. As always, if you have any views, comments or suggestions – or would like us to visit your site – please contact me.
With best wishes,