A Bedfordshire company gained a Royal seal of approval this week for its vision of developing a network of 100 new anaerobic digestion (AD) plants across the country.
Her Royal Highness Princess Anne made her enthusiasm for the project clear as she opened the first AD facility established by Biogen Ltd, part of the agriculture company Bedfordia, on Tuesday.The multi-million pound facility at the old Twinwoods Airfield near Milton Earnest can process around 42,000 tonnes of organic waste and farm slurry each year, and is already taking in food waste from households in Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Luton.
The plant is to be the springboard for a series of similar plants run in partnership with other farmers or food producers, the company's chairman John Ibbett revealed at the opening.
The Princess Royal is well known for her interest in agriculture, and after touring the plant she made an impromptu speech to back the concept of generating energy from food waste and farm slurry through anaerobic digestion.
She said: “One of my pet whinges is what happens – or doesn't happen – to food waste. This is what is really necessary and it seems to work so well. Good luck in expanding this around the country – it does have such enormous potential for all of us.”
Mr Ibbett revealed to the assembled dignitaries that his company has already submitted a planning application for a slightly larger plant in nearby South Northamptonshire. Bedfordia is also already in negotiations to develop 10 more plants, with the prospect of a 100-strong network now on the horizon.
This is what is really necessary and it seems to work so well.