Government publishes plan to become AD “world leaders”., Thursday 25 March 2010.

"The government has today (March 25) published a plan to encourage the UK to
become "world leaders" in the use of anaerobic digestion technology.

The process produces biogas that can be used to generate heat and power,
either locally or injected into the gas grid, by using micro-organisms to
break down organic matter in a sealed chamber.

The report, 'Accelerating the Uptake of Anaerobic Digestion in England: an
Implementation Plan' sets out actions to help businesses, local authorities,
farmers and food producers in England adopt the technology. It follows on
from initial recommendations set out by a Department for Environment Food
and Rural Affairs (Defra) taskforce in July.

The measures include a new research unit to test out the latest technology,
as well as continuing current policies like financial incentives and a
£10million programme of demonstration sites across the country.

Alongside this announcement, the Department for Business Innovation and
Skills (BIS) has granted £3.5m towards a biogas demonstration project,
subject to a feasibility study. The project will fund a facility to upgrade
raw biogas into biomethane that can be used as a transport fuel or injected
into the gas grid, as well as covering the additional costs of vehicles
using biogas.

Launching the document today, Environment secretary Hilary Benn talked up
the benefits of anaerobic digestion (AD) not just for renewable energy but
also for dealing with the vast amounts of waste still sent to landfill.

According to Defra, there are ten facilities that currently in operation to
process municipal and commercial food waste, compared to three in 2007, with
ten under construction. The number of digestion plants on farms has also
grown, according to the Department with around 25 currently in operation and
at least 15 more planned.

But the government would like to see these numbers rise further, to the
point where AD can make a contribution to the UK's commitment to source 15%
of its energy - and 10% of energy used in transport - from renewable sources
by 2020.

One aspect is establishing an appropriate economic framework by eventually
replacing existing capital grants schemes with Renewable Obligation
Certificates (ROCs), Feed in Tariffs (FITs) or a future Renewable Heat
Incentive (RHI). However, the plan stated that at present both may be needed
to secure the growth the government wants in anaerobic digestion.

Training for planners is also proposed to increase uptake, along with more
demonstration projects to go with the government's £10 million Anaerobic
Digestion Demonstration Programme.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have committed £1 million
from the Low Carbon Investment Fund (LCIF) for a new Anaerobic Digestion
Development Centre to allow the development of novel and improved AD

The unit is envisioned as an open access facility for the UK, where
companies can test and develop new processes.

The government also hopes to remove a bottleneck in the biogas sector by
working to assimilate biogas into the gas grid and published a guide to the
technical and regulatory requirements of injecting the gas in December."

The full report "Accelerating the Uptake of Anaerobic Digestion in England:
an Implementation Plan" (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
March 2010) is available at:

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