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OFT Recommendations Will Help AD


ADBA Chairman and Lib Dem peer Lord Redesdale has welcomed the publication today [Thursday] of the OFTs Market Study into Organic Waste.

The Market Study was prompted by the water regulator Ofwat, to explore what barriers exist to competition in the treatment of sewage sludge, and the involvement of Water and Sewage Companies in the treatment of other organic waste.

ADBA has been campaigning for changes which will help deliver the huge increase in Anaerobic Digestion promised by the coalition, and welcomed Ofwats decision to request the study.

The Market Study makes a series of recommendations to Ofwat and other bodies, focussing primarily on creating an economic environment which will help increase competition for Water and Sewage Companies and other waste treatment companies across the market.

Commenting, Lord Redesdale said:

I welcome the publication of the OFTs Market Study, and would like to thank their team who have put so much work into it this year.

The Study recognises that competition both for sewage sludge as a feedstock for digestion is very limited, that water companies are largely not connected to the wider organic waste treatment market, and that changes have to be make water supply and treatment sustainable.

The OFTs recommendations could help lead to huge rise in investment in Anaerobic Digestion from water sector, which will help the industry as a whole, and open up new opportunities for treating sewage sludge.

AD has a vital role in decarbonising energy production particularly in areas which other renewables cant reach, such as replacing fossil fuel gas in the grid so I hope that implementing these recommendations will help the water sector become a significant investor in the industry.

Over the coming months, ADBA will present our view that urgent measures need to be taken by Ofwat to increase the AD in the water sector, and will discuss with the regulator how we move to a mature and competitive AD marketplace both inside and outside the water sector.

Key facts you need to know about anaerobic digestion and biogas

The AD industry has the potential to generate around 40TWh of energy, equivalent to 20% of the UK’s domestic gas demand

The AD industry has the potential to be worth 2-3bn in the UK alone and employ 35,000 people

The NFU and ADBA share the goal of a huge expansion in AD plants on farms by the year 2020, contributing to multiple environmental goals as well as low carbon energy supply.

Overseas potential is significant and the UK could be a world leader – with the right support now.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a natural process which converts organic matter such as household food and garden waste, farm slurry, waste from food processing plants and supermarkets, into biogas and biofertiliser.

Biogas (which is approximately 60% biomethane, 40% CO2) can be utilised to generate electricity and heat, or, upgraded to bio-methane, as a transport fuel or fed directly into the UK’s gas grids

According to the Carbon Trust the generation of bio-methane would save twice as much carbon dioxide as producing electricity by 2020

AD is the only renewable that can be scaled up fast enough to enable the UK to reach its 2020 renewable energy target

AD significantly improves Britain’s energy security – we will soon be importing over 70% of our gas

AD reduces greenhouse gas emissions by treating organic wastes which would otherwise emit methane (landfill, slurries) and reducing our use of energy intensive commercial fertilisers and fossil fuels

AD preserves critical natural resources such as Nitrates and Phosphorus. Phosphorous is a finite resource for which there is no known alternative. It is critical for plant growth and world resources are already running out. Nitrates are one of the key components of fertilisers.

Unlike other renewables, biomethane is generated constantly and can be stored in the gas grid, and biomethane is one of the few renewable fuels for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) which cannot run on electricity

Five facts you need to know about ADBA

ADBA stands for The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association was founded in September 2009

Since its launch ADBA has acquired over 240 members, including AD plant operators, suppliers, local authorities, farmers, utility and energy companies such as British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks, supermarkets such as Waitrose and Morrisons, fleet operators such as Coca Cola and Howard Tenens

ADBA’s chairman is Lord Redesdale, former Liberal Democrat energy spokesman

ADBA’s aim is to help enable or facilitate the development of a mature AD industry in the UK and to represent all businesses involved in the anaerobic digestion and biogas industries, to remove the barriers they face and to support its members to grow their businesses and the industry to help UK plc meet its renewable energy, climate change and landfill targets, as well as the preservation of critical natural resources.


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