New anaerobic digestion plant opens in Surrey

Pictures courtesy of Agrivert

A new 45,000 tonne anaerobic digestion (AD) plant has opened at Trumps Farm in Surrey.

Run as a joint venture between AD specialist Agrivert and Grundon Waste Management (which has invested £5 million for a 15 per cent stake in the facility), the £11 million West London AD facility has the capacity to process around 45,000 tonnes of organic waste a year and generate 2.4 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply over 4,500 homes.

AD process details

It works by depackaging food waste of untreatable materials such as plastic, and then liquidising the organic waste to produce a ‘soup’ that is pumped into digesters. There, bacteria break down the organic material in the absence of oxygen, which produces methane gas that is collected and fed into a gas engine to produce electricity that is exported to the National Grid.

The process also generates heat, which is used to heat the pasteurisers and digesters (however, the facility will eventually use surplus heat to dry woodchip to provide a sustainable fuel).

The plant also produces a bio-fertiliser that can used on farmland, as well as a refuse derived fuel (RDF) from any waste contaminants that come in with the organic waste.

The companies behind the project have said that they have already secured a ‘long-term contract for the treatment of 19,000 tonnes of food waste per annum’, and that the plant is providing services to a number of local food waste collectors, as well as recycling local food waste for restaurants, pubs, retailers and food manufacturing outlets.

It is hoped that Agrivert’s West London AD facility could prevent the release of approximately 22,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year by diverting food waste from landfill.

‘Offering much-needed reliable capacity to local markets’

L-R: Agrivert Chief Executive Alexander Maddan with Grundon Waste Management Chairman Norman Grundon.

Speaking at the opening on Tuesday (3 June), Agrivert Chief Executive Alexander Maddan (pictured above), said that the company was ‘delighted’ to be working with Grundon, adding: “The new plant will offer much-needed reliable capacity to local markets and we are delighted that large volumes of waste are already coming in from local sources such as Surrey and Kingston. Local plants such as this reduce the cost of waste collection and treatment and should provide an incentive for many businesses to recycle food waste.”

Declaring the facility officially open, Norman Grundon, Chairman of Grundon Waste Management, said: “By segregating food from general waste, large tonnages can be diverted from landfill. This substantially reduces the volume of harmful greenhouse gases, such as methane and CO2, being released into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

“We are pleased to have invested in this industry-leading facility and that we can now deliver this service to our customers.”

The Surrey plant is Agrivert’s third AD facility in England, and its first plant outside of Oxfordshire, following its 2.1MW AD plant at Cassington (which opened in 2010) and its 2.3MW plant at Wallingford, which officially opened in May 2013. 

A fourth AD plant is being built in Severn Trent, and is expected to be completed by ‘the end of 2014’.

Find out more about the opening of the West London AD facility.