A new state-of-the-art food waste plant has opened in County Durham, serving the North East’s need to recycle food waste and create renewable energy.
Emerald Biogas has announced the completion of its £8m anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate.
The North East’s first commercial food waste facility, it will generate enough energy to power 2,000 homes each year.
The plant was constructed by Entec Biogas GmBH using the latest technology, with the building programme progressing to schedule over the past year.
The successful installation of the combined heat and power (CHP) system and other plant equipment has enabled the testing phase to be completed on time and the plant is now processing food waste and creating energy.
Antony Warren, director at Emerald Biogas said: “I am delighted with the progress made in terms of getting the plant to this stage.
“It is fantastic to see it up and running, as this truly is a one of a kind facility in the North East and the first in the region to begin operating.
“We are now in the position to accept and process unwanted commercial food waste and employ the latest AD technology to create a valued commodity that will be extremely beneficial to the local business and farming community.
“We are all excited for the positive journey ahead, with expansion a strong possibility, as we would like to see Emerald Biogas reach its full potential in the near future.”
Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is good for the environment and good for businesses, creating a stronger economy and jobs.
“Our AD loan fund has helped to support the development of this plant which will treat food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.”
Berhard Schulz, chief executive of Entec, added: “We were really pleased to be able to deliver this project on budget and on time, despite the challenges the weather brought this winter. The team has worked hard to ensure a successful commissioning phase and to enable the plant to start the next stage, processing waste and creating energy.”
Funding for the project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.
Phase 1 of the plant will process 50,000 tonnes of the region’s food waste. Planning permission has already been secured to expand the capacity to four times the current size.