Minister outlines biogas "vision" at national farmers' conference., February 17, 2009

"The generation of biogas from the nation's food waste, farm waste and
sewage sludge could contribute up to 7.5% of the renewable energy needed
to hit UK targets in 2020.

That was the claim within the government's new anaerobic digestion
"vision" unveiled by environment minister Jane Kennedy this morning at
the National Farmers' Union annual conference in Birmingham.

The minister identified farmers as having a key role in helping spread
the use of anaerobic digestion technology around the country.

The technology involves organic material being digested by bacteria in
huge tanks, which produces a methane-rich biogas and a residue that can
be used as an agricultural fertiliser.

It is claimed that anaerobic digestion plants could save the equivalent
of a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions for each tonne of food waste used
as a feedstock, compared to sending the material to landfill.

The government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Defra) published a "shared goals" document today, setting out how
farmers, industry, regulators, local authorities and the research
community will deliver a network of AD plants around the UK.

Some 35 organisations have signed up to the document so far, including
major supermarkets, biogas companies, the water industry, dairy
industry, food industry and National Grid.

Defra said initial analysis suggested that more than 100 million tonnes
of waste feedstock is available each year in the UK that could produce
biogas - including up to 20 million tonnes of food waste, 90 million
tonnes of farm waste and nearly two million tonnes of sewage sludge.

Biogas could also be produced by dedicated energy crops, the Department

It claimed that such feedstocks could result in biogas production that
could provide between 10 and 20 TWh of heat and power by 2020.

Defra said anaerobic digestion will be important for the food and drink
industry to meet its targets to stop sending packaging waste to landfill
from 2015. And, it said the water industry's bid to source 20% of its
energy from renewables by 2020 would be assisted by AD projects.

The dairy industry is actively involved in setting up 30 pilot on-farm
anaerobic digestion plants by 2010 and three large-scale AD plants by
2015, the government said.

Trade body Dairy UK is currently working with its members on feasibility

The environment department has formed a new Task Group to develop an
Implementation Plan for anaerobic digestion."

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society