Waen AD plant to start generating electricity ‘by summer’

A new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that is currently being built in Waen, North Wales, is set to begin generating electricity ‘by the summer’, renewable energy firm Biogen has announced.

Construction of the £7.5-million AD plant in Denbighshire is already underway, and once completed (scheduled for July 2014), will process up to 22,500 tonnes of food waste per year for the North Wales Consortium (Denbighshire County Council, Conwy County Borough Council, and Flintshire County Council).

According to Biogen, the facility will produce enough renewable biogas to power around 1,500 homes (approximately one megawatt of electricity) and will provide local farmers with a biofertiliser (a by-product of the AD process).

By digesting the food waste, rather than sending it to landfill (as the consortium does currently), the plant will boost the consortium’s recycling rates whilst reducing the area’s carbon footprint – each tonne of food waste recycled by AD as an alternative to landfill prevents between 0.5 and 1.0 tonne of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

To date, the main reception hall building (where the food waste will be delivered), biofertiliser storage tanks and the bund walls have all been completed.

A combined heat and power unit (CHP) responsible for generating the electricity is now in place, as is a new substation and high voltage cabling. Tanks for harvesting rainwater on site have also been installed.

Speaking of the progress, Simon Musther, Head of Commercial Operations at Biogen, said: “This is a great opportunity for any commercial operator who is looking for a food waste management solution. Recycling food waste at the Waen AD plant will ensure cost savings and environmental benefits to the local area, making this a real win-win.”

Sam Bates, Waste Operations Manager at Denbighshire Council, added: “The site is progressing well and the authorities are looking forward to the facility being up and running.”

Commissioning of the plant is due to begin around mid-May, and it will be fully operational by ‘this summer’.

Biogen currently has three operational food waste AD plants (in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Gwynedd) and five other sites at various stages of development throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Read more about the Biogen Waen AD plant.