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Green light for scheme to deliver green energy from food waste


A new technologically advanced scheme to deliver power and heat from food waste in County Durham has secured planning permission with the unanimous backing of the Durham County Council planning committee.

Emerald Biogas will now deliver the North Easts first commercial anaerobic digestion plant on the Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate. It will use food waste from shops, supermarkets and manufacturers, mixed with organic waste and energy crops from local farms, to create biogas capable of producing power to heat 9,000 homes.

Antony Warren from Emerald Biogas explains: In addition to reducing landfill, we will divert 40,000 tonnes of food waste annually from landfill in order to create 100% renewable energy.

We are already in advanced discussions with food manufacturers, shops and supermarkets in order to supply a cost-effective and green solution to their waste.

The full Emerald Biogas Energy Park scheme, which is scheduled to be in operation by summer 2011, includes research and development facilities as well as manufacturing units in order to assist the creation of an environmental technology hub at the site. All onsite developments will be supplied by renewable heat and power.

Anaerobic digestion is a natural biological process which involves breaking down or fermenting organic waste within a fully sealed, air-free environment. Millions of bacteria feed on organic acids within the waste to produce a methane rich biogas. This can then be used for heating or to produce electricity.

An additional benefit is that the remaining liquid product is ideal for fertilising crops, replacing energy intensive artificial fertilisers. 80,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser could be produced for use on 4,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Ian Bainbridge, from Emerald Biogas, comments: At our public consultation events, we had a fantastic response from local farmers keen to diversify into growing energy crops as well as using our only byproduct – a 100% natural fertiliser for crops.

Keen to contribute to the local environment, Emerald Biogas is also proposing to retain a proportion of the land as an actively managed wildlife area. Green roofs will be introduced ensuring that a large percentage of the proposed development would contribute to the ecological value of the site.

Further information is available at

Emerald Biogas is a partnership between North East food waste company, John Warren ABP Ltd and farming company J&S Bainbridge.

This partnership allows both firms to use their expertise to diversify into the latest renewable energy technology, anaerobic digestion, creating a link to the farming and waste operations and completing the farming and energy.

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