ADBA calls on government to ‘recognise value’ of AD

The chair of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has urged the new government to recognise the value of AD and biogas in helping solve the energy and climate crises.

Power generation from anaerobic digestion grew "significantly" in 2021, according to REA (picture: Shutterstock)

Chris Huhne made the plea in a letter last week to the Prime Minister and key members of the cabinet, highlighting how AD could help with achieving economic growth, energy independence and decarbonisation.

ADBA called for government support in separate food waste collections going to AD, the rapid deployment of AD infrastructure and the “lifting of red tape” for biogas producers to secure greater output of biogas.

This comes amid an ongoing debate about the profits made on renewable energy. At the moment, the cost of renewable is tied in to gas prices, meaning those providing renewable energy are able to make more profits as prices surge. The government is said to be in discussions about this, though nothing concrete has formalised.

Energy

The letter outlined that if not managed, organic wastes release greenhouse gas methane, causing harm to the environment. Recycling it through AD, these emissions are captured and turned into biogas, bio-CO2 and bio-fertiliser.

Mr Huhne, who is also former secretary of state for energy and climate change, explained that biogas derived from organic wastes can provide “a substantial alternative to gas imports” with the potential to alleviate consumer bills.

Chris Huhne, chair of Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association

He pointed out that “with the right government support”, the existing infrastructure could produce more energy and new plants could be built in less than two years, contributing to achieving energy security.

“More biogas is an essential response to the Russian gas crisis”, the letter stated. “Yet the British Energy Security Strategy published in April failed even to mention biogas or biomethane.”

Mr Huhne added that current government plans would meet less than 1% of our 2021 consumption, outlining key steps that can help.

These included accelerating the implementation of mandated separate food waste collections, supporting the rapid deployment of AD infrastructure by applying the same support that “turbo-charged” wind and solar, and reduce time-consuming planning processes for biogas producers to enable short-term increases in biogas output.

Decarbonisation

Additionally, the letter continued, biogas can play a role in helping decarbonisation. Fully deployed, the AD and biogas industry could also reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, it added.

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