« BackNews: UK Biogas Facility Shows Significantly Negative Carbon Emissions

UK Biogas Facility Shows Significantly Negative Carbon Emissions


The operator of Wiltshire-based Bore Hill Farm Biodigester, Malaby Biogas, has recently announced that following a six-month Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), it has confirmed finding significant carbon negativityof its operations.

Circular Online reports that the findings impress on the essential role that small scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants can provide as part of the government’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as delivering green economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Bore Hill Farm Biodigester has been ink operation for eight years and annually processes nearly 30,000 tonnes of food and organic waste. The waste is converted via AD into over 7,000 MWh of renewable energy that provides the National Grid.

As a by-product of the waste-to-energy conversion process, the facility produces 25,000 tonnes of nutrient-rich organic biofertiliser to be used in agriculture instead of traditional fossil-fuel heavy equivalents.

An EU study has estimated that food waste is responsible for 15 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and costs the EU economy around €143 billion a year. The same study places small and medium-sized (SME) AD plants, such as that owned by Malaby, as ideal to decarbonise food production.

The proximity of AD plants such as Bore Hill Farm to rural businesses and agriculture means that the food and organic waste are used within a closed-loop economy. 

The LCA study for Bore Hill Farm was carried out by a final year Masters student from the University of Bath and concluded with an emissions intensity score of -102g CO2/MJ electricity generated, which indicated a ‘significantly negative’ carbon impact.

The study’s findings suggested that approximately 100 SME AD plants in the UK are already contributing to the mitigation of up to 600,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. This is equivalent to the removal of 400,000 new cars off the road, or nearly 770,000 trips from the UK to New York and back again.

SME AD sites can outperform larger AD sites due to the reduction in transport required thanks to the proximity to farms and businesses. The Bath study indicated that further CO2 savings can be implemented if the government puts policies in place that provide further support to AD.

Malaby is now focussing on expanding its offering to include negative carbon fuel to be used by the agricultural and commercial vehicles that transport food waste and fertiliser to and from local businesses and farms.

Thomas Minter, Director of Malaby Biogas, said: We urge the Government to put policies in place that support the potential of AD in the UK as part of the creation of a green recovery. Not only will this enable the Government to address its Net Zero ambitions, but it will also help provide vital jobs for young people.”

Local authorities are expected to implement food waste collections for households over the next five years and with policies coming online to support decarbonisation of agriculture, the potential for more distributed renewable resource management will drastically increase.

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