Emerald Biogas announces approval for green energy plant
14 August 2012
A new anaerobic digestion (AD) facility is set to make a positive impact upon the region's renewable energy sector after Emerald Biogas finalised an £8m deal.
Emerald Biogas Ltd will be the North East's first commercial food waste AD facility, utilising a proportion of the 800,000 tonnes of food waste generated across the region to generate renewable energy and fertiliser.
The company comprises three directors with solid track records in farming, waste and recycling. Antony and Adam Warren are owners of the successful animal by product, food waste collection and recycling business, John Warren ABP. Ian Bainbridge owns a diverse farming, land and resource management, and plasterboard recycling business, Agricore.
The first phase of the new facility will process up to 53,000 tonnes of food waste collected from outlets across the region annually.
The process removes all traces of plastic, glass and metal before pasteurising the waste to meet stringent regulations. The waste is then transferred to large digestion tanks where anaerobic digestion takes place - a natural biological process within a fully sealed, air free environment. Millions of bacteria 'feed' on the organic fraction of the waste to produce a methane rich 'biogas', which can then be used for heating or to produce electricity. Emerald Biogas will produce 1.4MW, enough to power almost 2,000 homes.
The excess heat generated during the process will also be used across the industrial estate where the facility will be located, which was a key factor for the Emerald Biogas team when selecting the location at Aycliffe Industrial Estate. It was vital that the energy produced would be fully utilised and this was the rationale for an industrial location as opposed to a rural site.
In addition to the energy generated, the resultant digestate, which is high in nutrients, will be supplied to land owners within a ten-mile radius.
Antony Warren, director, Emerald Biogas said: "Emerald Biogas is the first commercial plant of this size in the region and we are delighted to have secured the funding and support to realise the project. By harnessing our knowledge of the food waste, agricultural and renewable energy industries and our proven track record in terms of collection and recycling it was a natural progression for John Warren ABP and Agricore to diversify and use our expertise to create an AD facility capable of not only providing renewable energy but also digestate which can be utilised by the agricultural community."
Ian Bainbridge, director, Emerald Biogas added: "The project has been underway for some time now and to have secured the funding from HSBC, WRAP and the Rural Development Programme for England is testament to the commercial viability and the need for such a facility in the North East. We expect the AD plant to be up and running in mid 2013 and have ambitious targets in terms of further energy production capacity and are committed to ensuring the facility delivers tangible benefits to Aycliffe Industrial Estate and to the wider community."
The deal was led by Mark Simpson and the corporate finance team at UNW and supported by Ward Hadaway, led my Mark Whitehead.