Renewable energy scheme goes live

ADNAMS Bio Energy will today deliver the first renewable gas made from brewery and local food waste to the National Grid from its groundbreaking anaerobic digestion plant.

In partnership with British Gas and National Grid, Adnams Bio Energy will generate up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours per year – enough to heat around 235 family homes for a year or run an average family car for 4million miles.

The facility, at Reydon, just outside Southwold, will eventually produce enough renewable gas to power the Adnams brewery and run the company’s fleet of lorries, while still leaving up to 60% of the output available for injection into the National Grid.

The plant, which has cost �2.75million to develop, consists of three anaerobic digesters – sealed vessels in which naturally-occurring bacteria will act without oxygen to break down up to 12,500 tonnes of organic waste each year.

The result is the production of renewable gas, which is very similar to natural gas and, after an upgrading process, can be injected into the gas network for end use by customers. A liquid organis fertiliser is also created as a by-product.

A study by National Grid shows that biomethane has the potential to account for at least 15% of domestic gas consumption by 2020, making a major contribution to “decarbonising” the gas grid.

The process also helps the environment in another way, with the diversion of the waste from landfill reducing the emission of another greenhouse gas, methane.

Most Read

In addition to the three digesters, Adnams Bio Energy has installed solar thermal panels and will also shortly install photo-voltaic cells to generate renewable electricity, so that the whole site, including the neighbouring Adnams distribution centre, will be using renewable energy generated on-site.

Adnams Bio Energy is owned by the Cambridge-based Bio Group, a renewable energy specialist to which Adnams has licensed its brand name.

Steve Sharratt, Bio Group chief executive, said: “This facility has been designed using our groundbreaking technology as the first stage of a national roll out of AD plants. We use innovative, low carbon building techniques to produce energy through a completely organic and natural process; nothing is wasted.”

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, said: “We are delighted that Adnams Bio Energy is located on the site of our eco-distribution centre.

“For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams’ brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.

“The industrial ecology cycle is completed when the fertiliser produced from the anaerobic digestion process can be used on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer.”

Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, is the first business to sign up to supply waste to the facility and has committed to sending food waste from seven of its nearby branches of Waitrose along with a John Lewis department store. Mike Walters, recycling and waste operations manager for Waitrose and John Lewis, said: “We are delighted to be the first retailer to become involved with Adnams Bio Energy in this exciting project.

“Waitrose was the first national food retailer back in 2008 to use anaerobic digestion as the best solution environmentally for its food waste.

“This new plant provides us with a local solution so that seven more Waitrose branches and a John Lewis store can reduce their impact on the environment and bring us nearer to achieving our objective of diverting 95% of all our waste from landfill by 2013,” added Mr Walters.

Gear�id Lane, managing director of communities and new energy at British Gas, said: “This project demonstrates how local communities can help us move to a low carbon energy future. Using waste that would otherwise end up in landfill to produce renewable gas is mutually beneficial for the environment and homes and businesses.”

National Grid Gas Distribution executive director Mark Fairbairn added: “We’re very pleased to be associated with this project which is the first end-to-end demonstration of reusing waste to provide gas for injection into the grid.”