Energy from waste
Waste food can be a source of energy
The main way of getting energy from waste is through a large piece of kit called an anaerobic digester. These capture biogas – mainly methane – from the natural breakdown of biological material by bacteria which is burned to generate electricity and heat, or, in some cases, fed into the gas grid.
The leftover solid material is a useful by-product, spread on agricultural land as low carbon nutrient-rich fertiliser.
Things to think about:
Is there a reliable and sustainable supply of waste?
For a successful anaerobic digestion project, a reliable supply of waste is needed. This will need to have the right mix of materials (such as slurry and food waste) and will need to include some ruminant waste to ensure that there are adequate bacteria in the mix.
Are there suitable routes to get the waste from its source to the digester site?
The waste material will need to be transported to the site. Early on in your planning, consider whether the routes are able to take heavy traffic and how this will affect the local community.
Will there be a reliable demand for the fertiliser produced?
Using the fertiliser you produce to replace energy-intensive alternatives plays a big part in how low carbon the plant really is. You will need to make sure that it can be used locally.
For more help and guidance on setting up a community anaerobic digestion scheme, check out the resources to the right.