In Wales, there are 24 Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants, of which 12 are classified as “waste” and 12 “agricultural”. Wales has a comprehensive source-segregated, kerbside collection service for domestic food waste and this provides the feedstock for 5 food waste plants. Some of the smaller farm plants have been in existence for decades but the majority have been developed during the 21st Century.
The AD industry in the UK as a whole has expanded very quickly over the last 6 years with much of the increase coming from energy crops. With the introduction of sustainability criteria and the severe reduction in the support via the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive the growth in the number of plants has slowed drastically, although there is an expectation that new gas-to-grid plant will be developed in response to revised tariffs under the Renewable Heat Incentive.
During the BiogasAction project, Severn Wye Energy Agency has been working towards the development of a new farm waste based industry in Wales that recognises a much wider set of benefits to the farmer and nation than just the production of renewable energy:
- Brought together the key stakeholders and produced an Intervention Strategy for Wales that has been submitted to the Welsh Government
- Engaged with LEADER groups and environmental NGO’s to explore opportunities for AD in Wales to tackle a series of problems and opportunities
- Engaged with the Welsh Government (Economic Development) in order to see AD recognised as part of best practice for the management of animal wastes – particularly cattle slurry.
- Talking and working with farmers to seek solutions for their individual circumstances
- Developing a business plan for a specific opportunity in north Wales – in conjunction with a local authority and LEADER group.
- Providing presentations to national conferences organised by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association in order to promote the concept of waste based systems for the individual farm.
Check the video to know more!