Technology – Drivers for change

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Biogas tanks – Greenfinch Plant at Tenbury Wells

Drivers for Change

The EU Landfill Directive sets targets over the next 20 years for the reduction in the landfilling of biodegradable waste, which consists of putrescible kitchen waste, garden waste, paper, card, textiles and wood.

EU Animal By-Products Legislation, came into force on 1st May 2003. This complex legislation effectively allows Category 3 waste to be processed in a biogas plant under strict operating parameters. The process must be in-vessel, particle size under 12mm, pasteurisation at 70ºC for one hour with strict hygiene and verification of pathogen elimination. Category 3 waste is classified as low risk and includes, catering waste (domestic and commercial kitchen waste), waste from food outlets, supermarket waste, food factory waste and some abattoir waste.

Climate Change Legislation, which sets out to reduce the emissions to atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Biogas technology is able to make a positive contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in four ways: first, electricity is generated from the biogas, thus replacing fossil fuel; second, district heating can be provided from the surplus heat from the process; third, by biologically treating organic waste soon after it has been produced, it is possible that emissions of methane gas, which is more than 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, can be avoided; and fourth, by providing local solutions, the transport distances are reduced.

The solutions proposed meet the definition of renewable energy with respect to the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

EU Objectives on Biodegradable Waste*:

  • Food Nutrients to be returned to the land – with safety
  • Garden Green Waste Composted locally or in household and returned to garden
  • Card Recycled to Card
  • Paper Recycled to Paper

*EU Working Document – Biological Treatment of Biowaste, 12 Feb 2001
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For local Councils, biodigestion has proven an excellent way of meeting liabilities over government targets.
Engineering costs prove greater value as these are directed toward funding actual construction and not into consultants and middle men’s pockets.

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