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Phosphates and food security headline AD industry conference

Echoing the calls from Europe for discussion on the sustainable use of phosphorus the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association announced today [15 Oct] the central theme ‘Can we afford not to recycle phosphates’ for the ADBA National Conference, London (3 Dec).

Essential for worldwide food security, phosphorus supplies to Europe are dependent on a few exporting countries, global supplies are finite, and there is no control over how much phosphorus will come to Europe nor the price at which it will be sold.

The ability of anaerobic digestion (AD) to provide nutrient recycling for the phosphates present in the organic material we throw away, at the same time as providing flexible green gas to contribute to renewable generation and energy security, is unique.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive, ADBA, said:

Anaerobic digestion is starting to take its place at the heart of sustainable farming. It will only become more important as the critical importance of phosphates to food production rises up the agenda, with AD’s nutrient recycling capabilities leading our response to ensuring future food security.


The UK has a growing nascent manufacturing base that can deliver a network of plants, helping to keep farmers farming, decarbonise the sector and promote the sustainable use and re-use of nutrients.


We have chosen to focus on phosphates and the importance of a thriving on-farm AD market at the ADBA National Conference because figures from DECC (to be released next week) are likely to confirm a large degression for sub 500 kW AD plants under the current Feed-in Tariff mechanism, which risks making AD deployment unviable for many farmers. This is despite the fact that AD is only starting to develop, particularly at the smaller scale on farms, and provides the government with excellent value from renewable incentives by providing energy and recycling the nutrients that are essential for food production.

More information on the ADBA National Conference – including the full conference programme – is available here.

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