Environment Minister Lord Henley has toured an anaerobic digester which transforms out-of-date supermarket food into electricity.
BiogenGreenfinch’s Westwood plant, near Rushden, Northamptonshire, can process 45,000 tonnes of food waste each year, which generates enough electricity to power nearly 3,000 homes. Most of the electricity is sold to the National Grid.
Lord Henley said: “Today I’ve seen first-hand how food scraps and out-of-date supermarket food is a valuable resource that can generate energy – rather than rubbish to be thrown away.
“As we strive to be the greenest government ever, this is exactly the type of technology we should be looking at, particularly as it cuts greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’ve already had constructive discussions with industry, farmers and the financial sector. Teams at Defra and DECC are now working hard to produce an action plan to examine how we can take practical steps to achieve a step change in the use of anaerobic digestion.”
BiogenGreenfinch chief executive Richard Barker said: “We were pleased Lord Henley could see the potential of this innovative technology for himself. Anaerobic digestion is the greenest solution for dealing with food waste and we believe that it significantly contributes to both the government’s landfill diversion and energy targets.”
There are around 37 anaerobic digestion plants in the UK using food and farm waste, with around 60 planned or under construction. A further 220 water treatment plants have anaerobic digestion facilities for sewage.