M&S supplier to be powered by food waste

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Anaerobic digestion

Marks & Spencer ready meals supplier RF Brookes will be powered by energy produced from its own food waste next year following the installation of a £5m anaerobic digestion facility at its site in Rogerstone, Newport.

The factory, which is owned by Premier Foods, will use an anaerobic digester to convert food waste into heat, compost and power, generating 10% of its power.

The facility is being built by Premier Renewable Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of InSource Energy, which provides waste and energy management solutions for the food and drink industry.

InSource Energy md John Scott said:“The aim is to commission it by the end of this year so that it will be operational by this time next year.”

The digestor, which was built with the aid of a £500,000 grant from the Welsh Assembly Government, will process around 10,000t of organic waste per year. This will be liquidised and then broken down by bacteria to produce biogas and an organic residue that can be used as fertiliser, said Scott.

Landfill tax escalator

Rising landfill taxes and the pressure on businesses to reduce or eliminate waste sent to landfill made anaerobic digestion an increasingly attractive solution for food manufacturers, said Scott. However, securing financing for such projects was still fairly challenging as the payback might take several years.

He added: “I can’t specify a minimum tonnage that would make a plant viable as it all depends on the type of waste generated. But we’re looking at larger food manufacturers that generate a lot of waste where we can enter a long-term partnership to sell them the energy generated by their waste.”

InSource takes responsibility for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the plant, plus planning and environmental approvals, he said. The food manufacturer must in turn commit to supplying it with a certain tonnage of waste and buying back the energy at a certain rate.

The standard rate of landfill tax increased by £8/t to £48/t on April 1 this year and will increase by £8/t annually thereafter until 2014.

Related topics Chilled foods

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