Food waste management gets greener

A new anaerobic digestion and depackaging plant will process 70,000 tonnes of food waste collected from restaurants, food manufacturers and processors in the North East, significantly reducing miles travelled by the region’s waste. The plant will generate 600m3/hr of green gas to be injected into the national grid, enough to heat 1,950 homes.

Located in Gateshead, Wardley Biogas is the only food waste processing plant in Tyne and Wear. Due to be completed in December 2019, the 3MW AD plant and de-packaging site will mean that waste no longer travels long distances, sometimes over 50 miles, to be processed for energy production further south.

Chris Negus, Business Development Manager at Privilege Finance, a specialist funding provider for energy from waste projects, explains that Wardley Biogas plant is a joint venture between Privilege, renewable energy developer EOS DevCo and GAP Organics, a waste management business.

“We’re pleased to have funded over £17,000,000 for this project as there are some real community benefits associated with it. Not only is the plant itself creating 12 new jobs, but the businesses providing the waste will benefit from reduced waste management costs, which will help to promote sustainable economic growth across the region,” says Chris.

Having invested over £300m into the UK AD and biogas sector to date, Privilege has a proven track record in delivering AD projects. GAP Organics is another company backed by experience, as they already collect food waste to supply smaller AD plants in the north east. The company’s Director, Paul Palmer, explains how the new plant is enabling them to expand their business by taking on new clients.

“The expansion means over 50 more businesses in the region will be separating their food waste from their general waste, to be recycled into green gas, and we’ll be able to channel that food waste to the closest location where it’s needed, maximising efficiencies and reducing emissions.

“For one of our major clients in Newcastle, the daily journey travelled by their food waste will reduce, meaning at least 10,000 fewer miles in a year,” he concludes.

Unloading defrosted packaged frozen veg