Defra minister unveils Agrivert anaerobic digestion plant
Defra resource minister Lord de Mauley officially opened Agrivert's second anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Oxfordshire this morning (17 May).
The facility near Wallingford has the capacity to generate over 2.3MW of renewable energy - enough to power over 4,000 local homes.
The joint venture between Agrivert and Green Renewable Energy (GRE) is one of six organic waste recycling facilities that Agrivert has built under a 20-year contract, which will provide a complete organic waste treatment solution for Oxfordshire County Council, the top performing waste disposal authority for 2011-12.
Agrivert's other plants comprise four composting sites and its first AD facility in Oxfordshire at Cassington. The Wallingford AD facility, which has a capacity of 45,000 tonnes per annum, will also process food waste from the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead under a 25-year contract.
The Berkshire council, which recently extended its food waste collection to all local households, has become the first local authority in the UK to promote Recyclebank's rewards for recycling food waste.
On top of the long-term municipal food waste contracts, Wallingford will process food waste from restaurants, pubs, retailers and food manufacturing outlets.
In addition to renewable energy, the plant also generates renewable heat, some of which is used to heat the pasteurisers and the digesters. In a further development, Agrivert is looking to use the surplus heat produced to dry woodchip to provide a sustainable fuel.
In a boost to the local agricultural sector, the digestate produced will be applied to over 2,500 acres of local farmland, displacing chemical fertiliser.
De Mauley said the Government was "delighted that this sector is expanding in what is a very difficult climate for our economy".
He told visitors that the Government's AD strategy and action plan, developed jointly with industry, would help tackle the barriers facing the AD sector and support further growth.
Agrivert's CEO Alexander Maddan said that the new plant would help increase national recycling rates and also reduce the volume of material going to landfill.
"There's a very low-cost recycling gate fee into this plant," he said. "It's much, much less than landfill and much less than energy from waste plants so without any of the other virtues, this is a cost gain."
Agrivert's commercial director Harry Waters told LAWR that Agrivert would soon be announcing news on another project - the West London AD facility at Trumps Farm in Chertsey, Surrey.
An in-depth feature on the Wallingford AD facility will appear in LAWR's August issue.