Eco Verde Energy (EVE), a leading specialist operations and management provider for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, has partnered with the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) to host a local authority site visit to a new AD plant in Attleborough, Norfolk.
The educational visit is part of a series of site visits organised by ADBA, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of food waste recycling and foster local authority understanding of AD as a solution for removing food refuse from residual waste streams to generate renewable energy.
The initiative follows new directives set to be introduced by Defra from 2025, requiring UK councils to introduce separate food waste collections.
Waste management officers from local authorities across Norfolk and neighbouring counties were given a tour of the Attleborough site’s facilities. The tour showcased the effectiveness of AD in transforming food waste into renewable gas and electricity and highlighted its potential in creating a circular economy solution to help mitigate climate change.
Attleborough has emerged as one of the UK’s first ‘green communities’, thanks to the £17 million upgraded AD plant, established by Privilege Finance and operated by EVE.
The plant, which has capacity to produce an impressive 87 gigawatt hours of biomethane, harnesses enough power from local organic waste to supply 4,000 homes, meeting 100% of the population’s gas needs in the summer and 50% during winter months.
The collaboration demonstrates EVE’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the dedication of the AD sector at large for shaping the future energy mix.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this initiative organised by ADBA, which provides a great opportunity to see firsthand the capabilities of anaerobic digestion and the impact it can have on revolutionising food waste management and shaping our energy resilience,” said Chris Winward, CEO of Eco Verde Energy.
“We can’t rely on one solution alone to meet net zero targets, so we need a balanced approach,” he added.
“AD has the potential to contribute significantly to a greener future but there’s a lack of understanding around the process, so it’s great to throw open our doors and allow esteemed local councillors to glimpse behind the scenes of an AD plant.”
The site visit was co-organised by ADBA in partnership with the independent environmental and sustainability consultancy, WRM and representation from the renowned climate action non-governmental organisation (NGO), WRAP.
Bringing valuable expertise to the event, Mark Richmond, Technical Director at WRM, expressed his support for the programme:
“We’re extremely pleased to collaborate with ADBA and EVE in organising this site
visit. Local authorities that will need to introduce a source separated food waste collection must start to identify recycling options, to ensure they can deliver tangible sustainable outcomes targeted by the Environment Act. Utilising anaerobic digestion to generate valuable energy from unavoidable food waste could be transformative and should be carefully considered.” said Mr Richmond.
A WRAP spokesperson, said: “Food waste accounts for a large proportion of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and 30% of carbon emissions globally. Wherever food waste cannot be prevented, then ensuring it is recycled is the next best option for the environment.”
Jo Goad, Policy Analyst at ADBA, concluded: “This event demonstrates the commitment among industry leaders, local authorities, charities and the private sector in responding to the climate emergency.
“AD recycles food waste while reducing methane emissions, which is critical to slow down climate heating. AD also generates renewable energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, so it provides a multi-faceted solution in cutting waste to landfill and providing green energy, biofertiliser and bioCO2.
“It’s great to see local authorities engaging with the sector to understand what AD has to offer before separate food waste policies come in,” she said.