New Anaerobic Digestion plant offers simple solution for food waste

An £11 million anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, which takes food waste from homes and businesses across south London and the Home Counties, was officially opened on Tuesday 3 June.

Alexander Madden, left, and Norman Grundon, at the official opening of the new West London anaerobic digestion plant (Photo: Dave Marriott)

A joint venture between AD specialist Agrivert and Grundon Waste Management, the West London AD plant will process around 45,000 tonnes of organic waste a year and has the capacity to generate 2.4MW of renewable electricity – enough to supply over 4,500 homes. The plant also produces valuable bio-fertiliser that can displace fossil fuel derived fertilisers on over 2,500 acres of farm land.

Built in just eight months, the latest facility means Agrivert now has three AD plants, together servicing four of the top eight performing recycling authorities in the UK. Grundon has a 15% stake in the plant and has invested £5m in its development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the new facility, at Trumps Farm, in Surrey, Agrivert chief executive Alexander Maddan, said: “We are proud of this AD project and the increased accessibility to our industry-leading food waste recycling services it will bring. The new plant will offer much needed reliable capacity to local markets and we are delighted that large volumes of waste are already coming in from local sources such as Surrey and Kingston. Local plants such as this reduce the cost of waste collection and treatment and should provide an incentive for many businesses to recycle food waste.”

“We are delighted to be working with Grundon, who have been helpful at every step. Indeed we could not have delivered it so quickly if we had not had such a progressive relationship.”

Guests at the official opening watched as food waste was tipped into the new facility (Photo: Kerry Beinsale)

Declaring the facility officially open, Norman Grundon, chairman of Grundon Waste Management, said: “Grundon’s vision is to provide an industry-leading total waste management service. Our investment here today demonstrates our commitment to developing new waste innovations that can help our customers to achieve their environmental goals, including zero waste.

“With the Government widely expected to ban the disposal of food waste from landfill in the future, we have seen increased interest from our customers in the collection and recycling of food waste. The important environmental benefits of this service are evident.

“By segregating food from general waste, large tonnages can be diverted from landfill. This substantially reduces the volume of harmful greenhouse gases, such as methane and CO2, being released into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. We are pleased to have invested in this industry-leading facility and that we can now deliver this service to our customers.”

Agrivert has already successfully secured a long-term contract for the treatment of 19,000 tonnes of food waste per annum and the new plant is also providing services to a number of local food waste collectors, as well as recycling local food waste for restaurants, pubs, retailers and food manufacturing outlets, much of which was previously sent to landfill.

In addition, Grundon has secured a significant amount of contracted capacity, enabling it to expand its food waste collection service to a wider customer base.

The new West London anaeropbic digestion plant (Photo: Kerry Beckinsale)

The locality of the plant will help to reduce waste miles and generate its own income through energy creation.

AD is recognised as the Government’s preferred recycling treatment solution for food waste and, with costs approximately two thirds less than landfill or incineration fees, it provides an extremely cost-effective option for taxpayers and local authorities.

Another major advantage of AD is the capture of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide Each year, the new plant will capture around 4.5 million m3 of methane, which could otherwise be released into the atmosphere if food waste is sent to landfill. The West London AD plant is estimated to prevent the release of approximately 22,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

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