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AD trade show to highlight how to develop the sector
The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) will be holding its third annual trade show on 4-5 July. The show will launch a new report on how to develop the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry, which has the potential to grow by 800 per cent in the next eight years, according to a 2011 paper.
“It is incredible that with only 78 plants built outside of the water industry, the UK AD industry is already delivering over four times more electricity than solar PV”, says Lord Redesdale, ADBA Chairman and Liberal Democrat energy spokesman. “There’s no clearer symbol of the industry’s growth and potential than ADBA trade show, which next week will feature 200 exhibitors – up from 74 in 2010.”
This rapid growth does require the right support from government though. The independent report produced by CentreForum titled ‘Hit the Gas: How to get the anaerobic digestion sector moving’ will be released at the ADBA trade show and will outline some of the barriers to growth that are facing the industry today.
Finding funding is the main problem. It can be difficult to find banks willing to invest in new AD plants, so support from government loans and grants could help alleviate this issue. A strong commitment to AD by the government, reflected in legislature and targets, would also help in securing long-term investment.
The other barrier to the industry, which relates to the first, is finding secure contracts for AD feedstock. In the Committee on Climate Change projections, two-thirds of AD feedstock is proposed to come from household and commercial food waste. The sector will need to capture as much of that valuable organic waste stream as possible if they’re going to grow as predicted.
Farming will be another source of feedstock for AD, and ADBA are targeting 1,000 farms to encourage them to process their organic waste onsite. AD on farms has the benefit of creating a new revenue stream, reducing fuel costs and producing digestate that can act as natural fertiliser and return lost phosphates and nitrates to the soil.
If the predictions in the 2011 Committee on Climate Change ‘Renewable Energy Review’ hold true, the AD sector could increase its energy generation eightfold from 1.3 terawatt hours (TWh), of mostly electricity, to 11 TWh by 2020. If food and other organic waste are harnessed to their full potential, AD could generate over 40 TWh of energy, which is equivalent to 10 per cent of the UK demand for gas.
Lord Redesdale commented: “This is clear evidence supporting the role of the UK as a world leader in renewable energy. The estimate of what the industry could deliver, in such a short time frame, with adequate support, with the barriers removed, and with the recognition it deserves, is staggering."
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