Construction of UK’s largest food waste plant

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food waste Anaerobic digestion Methane

The UK’s largest £20M anaerobic digestion plant in Yorkshire is inviting regional manufacturers and retailers to help supply it in a major...

The UK’s largest £20M anaerobic digestion plant in Yorkshire is inviting regional manufacturers and retailers to help supply it in a major national drive to eliminate food waste sent to landfill.

Selby Renewable Energy Park (SREP), which will be managed by Whites Biogas, has just received a £1.7M commitment from the Waste & Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP’s) Organics Capital Grant Fund (OCGF). This will go towards the first stage of the plant’s construction, which begins next month. The OCGF aims to significantly increase the available processing capacity for source-segregated food waste, which would otherwise be disposed of to landfill.
Future Energy Yorkshire, which is funded by Yorkshire Forward, has supported the Selby plant through its Grid Connected Renewables funding stream with an investment of £750,000. The remaining funds will come from unnamed private sector investors.
The facility is expected to become operational by autumn next year, when the second stage of construction will commence, said SREP’s business development manager Shaun Flynn. The first phase will save nearly 20,000t of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Phase 2, beginning in October 2010, will take a further year to complete.
Around 40 jobs will be created on site. As well as generating 8MW of energy, when both construction phases are complete, the plant will be able to treat 165,000t of food waste annually which would otherwise have gone to landfill sites. The source of food waste is likely to be equally split between manufacturers and retailers within a 50-mile radius of the plant, said Flynn.
According to WRAP, the total food waste generated in the UK amounts to 18-20Mt. Retailers are said to generate about 1.6Mt, food manufacturers 4.1Mt, with foodservice outlets producing about another 3Mt.
Jemma Benson, funding manager for Future Energy Yorkshire said: “Future Energy Yorkshire sees the SREP as an important development for the region. Through generating renewable electricity it will contribute to carbon emission reduction targets, create new jobs and divert waste from landfill. With this in mind it was an ideal project for us to invest in.”
The repayment of the investment is expected to enable more renewable energy projects to be supported in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

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