AD capacity may surpass food waste volumes

A new regional report, published by bioeconomy consultancy NNFCC, predicts 5.5million tonnes of waste food would be needed if all small and large-scale anaerobic digestion facilities currently under development were to become operational by 2017.

However, a report published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in November last year found food waste volumes generated by UK households were falling, with seven million tonnes generated in 2012, a reduction of 1.1 million tonnes over five years.

The WRAP study concluded that a further estimated 1.7 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste alone could be cut from the waste stream by 2025, which would bring volumes in the UK down to 5.3million tonnes.

But, NNFCC’s data suggests a possible treatment over-capacity could still be some way away with just 30% to 50% of the waste-fed AD plants under development in the UK likely to be completed.

The report, which is on the NNFCC website, provides a region-by-region breakdown of AD sector development across the country. It found gradual reductions of the subsidy being offered via the feed-in tariff could restrict future deployment of new small-scale AD sites.

NNFCC’s research charts sector development in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the 10 regions of England, providing information on feedstock requirements, installed capacity and energy outputs for all AD-based projects except sewage waste treatment plants.

The information, which is aimed at developers, investors and policymakers in the industry, is based on the NNFCC’s AD deployment database.

The database is updated monthly using a number of data sources, which combined provide accurate insights into the various types, scales and statuses of AD projects throughout the UK.

The report scope extends to agricultural and non-sewage waste AD facilities, and includes both combined heat & power (CHP) and biomethane-to-grid projects.

“This report provides a comprehensive picture of the AD sector,” said Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, chief executive officer of NNFCC.

“The data contained in it will provide those looking to invest with information fundamental to the decision making process.”




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