Just four days after Thames Water’s launch of their renewable gas scheme, the Adnams brewery in Suffolk has begun converting waste products into usable gas for the National Grid. The process takes malted barley used in brewing along with food waste from John Lewis and Waitrose stores.
The plant will generate up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to heat around 235 homes, as well as contribute to decarbonising the grid. In the future the facility hopes to produce enough renewable gas to power the brewery and run its fleet of lorries and still leave up to 60 per cent of the output for injection into the National Grid.
Chief Executive of Adnams, Andy Wood said: “For a number of years now Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams’ brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.
“This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region and the production of renewable energy. The food waste would otherwise be destined for landfill, but processing it through the digester will save an estimated 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from landfill.”
Both the Adnams plant and the Thames Water in Didcot have been built in advance of regulations being introduced next year to create financial incentives for renewable gas.
John Baldwin, Chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s Biogas Group said: “This is a really innovative project. It will be the first to turn food leftovers into renewable gas, and it will soon be running its delivery fleet on this clean fuel. The project will also produce fertiliser, which will be spread on farmland where the barley is grown for Adnams beer. This will replace mineral fertilisers, which have a heavy carbon footprint.”
Renewable gas is produced from organic material such as food waste. It is very similar to natural gas and, once upgraded to grid specification, can be injected into the gas network for end use by customers. A study by National Grid shows that biomethane has the potential to account for at least 15 per cent of domestic gas consumption by 2020.