Attleborough gas supply set to go green

Development works at an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Norfolk will see Attleborough town become one of the first in the UK to be supplied mainly with green gas.

As part of a £17m upgrade project led by Privilege Finance, 100,000 tonnes of food waste collected from local households and businesses will be processed by the AD plant, to produce green gas for use in 4,000 Attleborough homes.

“The town will spearhead the concept of a sustainable circular waste-to-energy economy, while reducing its carbon footprint,” explains Marc Graham, Project Development Manager at Privilege Finance.

“What really sets this project apart is the fact that green gas will be piped directly into homes and businesses that are generating the food waste. It’s a true closed loop.

“This is unique because a typical gas infrastructure would mean household gas is from a mix of resources. In this instance, local home and business owners will be able to trace the gas production back specifically to a renewable energy generating source.”

Marc adds that there will be no noticeable differences for the homeowners, so they will be able to continue to cook and heat their homes in the usual way.

Methane produced from food waste and other sources is a greenhouse gas (GHG) which is 28-34 times more powerful than CO2, according to United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). WRAP also states inedible food waste from UK households and businesses is around 2.85m tonnes and is associated with more than 7.5m tonnes of GHG emissions.

“Food waste is often an underestimated contributor to man-made GHG emissions,” he explains.

“However, this plant is a clear example of how GHG emissions can be reduced through the recycling of this food waste and capturing of the methane within the digester for processing into green gas.

“Carbon emission savings will also be made as all of Norfolk’s food waste collections will be processed in-county, reducing unnecessary waste miles associated with transporting it long distances for processing.”

The work being undertaken at the Attleborough site is a major development project and includes the addition of four digestion tanks, a food waste reception hall and depackaging unit, plus a gas upgrader. With construction anticipated to be complete in March 2022, the upgraded AD plant will produce 1,000 cubic metres of green gas per hour.