Thanks to an investment of £400m in the biomethane sector, potentially 48 new UK biomethane plants could all be in operation by January 2020 – increasing the total number of UK plants from 98 today to 146 by end of the decade.
Anaerobic digestion, a process that converts organic wastes (food, manure, crop-waste and sewage) into biomethane, which can be used to heat homes, power vehicles, and produce lower emissions than traditional gas.
To supply the new anaerobic digestors, a universal food waste collection would occur in England to replicate the improvement in food waste recycling rates seen in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
This change in policy will divert food waste away from environmentally damaging landfill or incineration. Anaerobic digestion of the food waste could meet 30% of the UK’s household gas or electricity demand and create around 35,000 jobs.
The National Infrastructure Commission estimated that introducing universal food waste collections in England would save local authorities up to £400 million in capital costs and £1.1 billion in operational costs between 2020 and 2050.
A Growing Biogas Industry in the UK
Over the last decade, the UK Anaerobic digestion industry has grown by more than 350% and has established itself as a world leader in biogas, with UK companies already exporting biogas-related expertise and equipment. The UK has a real opportunity to be at the heart of the growing global biogas industry, which has the potential to be worth £1 trillion.
Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) said,
“We’re delighted to see the gas distribution networks working together to enable and support this anticipated growth in biomethane and commit to safely connecting every biomethane plant to the gas grid. This will allow these plants to provide the green gas that we as a country absolutely need to help decarbonise the gas grid and meet our climate-change targets.”