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UK’s Largest Anaerobic Digestion Food Waste Facility Opened

Description: Weltec Biopower biogas Hungry combined heat and power

Vehicles enter the facility through rapid open/shut doors and unload in a waste reception area

22 June 2011

UK based integrated waste management company Biffa, has opened the country’s largest Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility for the sole treatment of food waste.

According to the company, the new 120,000 tonne capacity facility, located next to the company’s landfill site in Poplars, Staffordshire, is a strategically important step forward, and marks the country’s first ‘super’ AD plant dealing with food waste.

Biffa maintains that the construction of large scale ‘super’ AD food waste facilities will be the shape of things to come for food waste management in the UK.

Speaking at the opening of the Poplars facility, Ian Wakeline, Biffa chief executive, explained that such facilities make much more sense than having lots of small plants dotted around the country and offer stronger economics, reduced costs and greater technical refinement than would be cost effective as a smaller facility.

Currently in a ramping up stage, once running at full capacity next month, the £24 million facility will generate 6 MW of electricity through the combustion of biogas in three 2 MW gas engine powered gen-sets.

The plant will receive source segregated food waste from supermarkets, food and drink manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, caterers and homes is delivered to the site from Biffa’s collection network.

Vehicles enter the facility through rapid open/shut doors and unload in a waste reception area. Solid and liquid waste is emptied into a bunker then crushed before grit and packaging is removed. The organic material then enters a suspension tank before it is pasteurised.

The pasteurisation process heats the material to 70 degrees C for at least one hour to meet the requirements of the Animal By-Products Regulations.

The waste is then piped into one of five digester tanks in which naturally occurring microbes already present in the waste break the material down over a certain timeframe, creating methane and carbon dioxide (biogas) and water. The company said that the plant will be entirely self sufficient, using electricity generated from the biogas to power the plant, and exporting the rest to the grid.

The remaining digestate will be produced to meet PAS110 certification. The wet mixture is transferred into two centrifuges to reduce the water content. The remaining solids are used by local farms as a soil improver in the same way as compost or oil based manufactured fertilisers.

The new facility will feature in the July/August issue of Waste Management World Magazine. Click HERE to receive your free copy.

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