The Importance of Renewable Energy in the UK

With Boris Johnson’s recent announcement that the UK must cease dependence on Russian oil and gas, the UK must improve its energy security. In order to do this, we must become self-sufficient and develop more energy sources in the UK.

Renewable energy plays an important role in making this happen, however, this needs to be a balanced approach as wind and solar alone do not provide all the resilience needed.

The UK currently produces renewable biomethane using anaerobic digestion (AD) technology. Unlike its fossil fuel equivalent, natural gas, biomethane does not release additional carbon into the atmosphere which has been locked away for thousands of years, as it recycles the carbon that exists in the present environment.

AD is a proven technology that could go a long way towards stopping the need for importing gas from abroad. It turns organic waste into biomethane and can help to process the 10.2 million tonnes of consumer food waste we throw away every year in the UK.

AD also produces digestate, a nutrient-rich fertiliser made from the organic matter processed by the plant, as part of the same process. Digestate can displace manmade fertilisers from being produced with the carbon footprint that is associated with the process which emits harmful carbon dioxide gases and utilises high amounts of energy in their production. What’s more prices have more than doubled, from £300 a tonne for nitrogen fertiliser to over £700 a tonne. The current situation with Russian and the associated sanctions are only going to make this price go higher.  The UK needs to produce its own fertilisers and become self-sufficient to be able to grow crops for food. Digestate produced locally to farms can be can help with this shortage at a cost effective price point.

The Anaerobic Digestion process also produces CO2, which can be captured from the biogas produced in the digestion tanks when it is upgraded to biomethane.  You will have seen on the news regarding CO2 shortages as the UK again does not have enough capacity to produce CO2.  Th CO2 produced is chemically identical to the gas supplied to the food and beverage industry, food packaging industry an all the others. With the gas shortages impacting the supply of CO2 AD plants can again provide a solution for the shortfall in our UK production capabilities.

Overall, we need to look at renewable energy sources that are already working in the UK. AD provides a clean, closed-loop solution and if we located an AD plant on the edge of every town to produce green electricity and gas we would create a resilient, sustainable circular economy.

At #PrivilegeFinance, we are passionate about reducing climate change and funding renewable energy projects. To find out more about AD and the role we believe it can play in the energy sector read our manifesto