Anaerobic Digestion trade association urges new government to keep the momentum on building a sustainable circular economy
- Anaerobic digestion (AD) can reduce UK GHG emissions by 5% and help the UK meet its net-zero obligations and Paris Agreement commitments.
- The global AD and biogas industry is only treating 2% of the organic wastes available to produce biogas for power, heat and transport, and bio-fertilisers for farming. The potential for growth is huge.
- Government must urgently put policies in place to support this growth and ensure that we do as much as we can to mitigate the climate crisis,
- we develop a UK supply chain to export to the world,
- we create tens of thousands of new green jobs around the UK.
The UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) congratulates the new members of the UK Government on their appointments. Only a brief reference was made in the new Prime Minister’s speech to the environment, and the climate crisis that we face, and the urgency of taking action to meet the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments and achieve net-zero emissions targets by 2050. We firmly believe that the UK will NOT meet its Net Zero obligations without strong support for our sector (it can reduce emissions in the UK by 5%), which, in addition to addressing climate change, also offers great opportunities to boost the UK economy, from exports to farming resilience post-Brexit and green jobs, and to deliver on the Clean Growth and Resource and Waste Strategies.
The World Biogas Association, of which ADBA is a founder member, has just published its Global Potential of Biogas report, highlighting the role that anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas can play in decarbonising multiple sectors (energy, agriculture, transport, urban living, water) and developing a sustainable circular economy worldwide. The AD technology, which treats organic wastes from various sources to produce biogas for electricity, heat, fuel for transport, as well as carbon-free digestate to fertilise the land, is mature and able to treat most biodegradable materials.
Developed to its full potential, the biogas industry could reduce global GHG emissions by 10-13%, and in hard to reach sectors such as agriculture, heat and transport. However, it only currently treats 2% of the organic wastes available around the world to generate green gas, power, transport fuel and bio-fertilisers. There are therefore 98% of biodegradable materials available globally (food waste, waste from farming and from sewage systems) that remain untapped. The potential for the sector to grow as an instrument not only for climate change mitigation, but also to develop a sustainable circular economy that creates many green jobs, secures energy and agricultural security and boosts export opportunities is therefore enormous.
ADBA has been working with the UK Government for many years advising on the policies needed to support the deployment of AD and biogas in the UK and we have been encouraged by the progress made. However, we must not lose the momentum at such a critical time for the environment and the economy. Building on current achievements and policy priorities, we are therefore calling for the UK Government to ensure that:
- an ongoing funding system for AD is established,
- there is continued support for the rollout of food waste collections,
- the Agriculture Bill is progressed taking account ADBA’s recommendations,
- there is investment in research and innovation to reduce the industry’s dependence on subsidies and ensure it is best able to take advantage of the estimated £1trn global market.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of ADBA, said: “In a keynote speech prior to the launch of the WBA report, Niclas Svenningsen, of the UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Climate Change) highlighted the multiple wins that the AD and biogas industry offers to society, and called for biogas to be at the table when the future policies of governments are designed.
The UK AD industry has grown by more than 350% over the last ten years and the UK has established itself as a world leader in biogas, with UK companies already exporting biogas-related expertise and equipment. Given its world leading expertise, the UK AD industry has a real opportunity to be at the heart of the growing global biogas industry, support the drive to address climate change and create a sustainable circular economy for now and generations to come. We mustn’t miss this opportunity.”
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Notes to Editors
The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is the trade association for the UK anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry. It was established in September 2009 and now counts over 400 members. www.abioresources.org
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.
The Global Potential of Biogas report highlights the potential of AD as a technology to generate renewable energy, abate GHG emissions and recover organic nutrients and carbon for use on soil, and makes recommendations on how to realise this potential. The report also sets out how AD can help meet the climate change targets under the Paris Agreement and many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.