Anaerobic digestion is huge economic opportunity for UK, ABDA tells Treasury

11th October 2018 | Commercial Energy

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) has described the UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry as a huge economic opportunity for the UK ahead of November’s Autumn Statement. ABDA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton has this week written to Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, outlining the economic and environmental benefits of AD, a technology that converts organic wastes and purpose-grown crops into renewable heat and power (in the form of biogas), clean transport fuel, and natural fertiliser.

In her letter, Ms Morton set out the case for rollout of universal food waste collections in England to replicate the improvement in food waste recycling rates seen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the result of a similar policy. As well as helping to divert food waste away from environmentally damaging landfill or incineration, the National Infrastructure Commission has estimate 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.

Anaerobic digestion

Ms Morton also reiterated AD’s contribution to the goals set out in the government’s industrial Strategy, designed to reinvigorate the UK’s manufacturing sector, and highlighted how AD can play a central role in new sector deals for agritech (through helping farmers to reduce their emissions) and the growing bioeconomy.

If it meets its full potential, the UK AD industry could meet 30% of the UK’s household gas or electricity demand and create around 35,000 jobs, mainly in rural areas where AD plants tend to be located. AD also improves energy security and soil quality, both major government policy objectives, through producing home-grown renewable and nutrient-rich natural fertiliser respectively.

Ms Morton said in her letter to the Treasury: “With targeted government support for research into our sector, we could supercharge our industry and put it at the cutting edge of agricultural science. Developing new waste management technologies would provide a boon to British exports, but also transform the sector’s performance to eliminate the need for further future subsidy.

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