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Environment Agency approves AD research

Research into new waste treatment processes at a ‘one of a kind’ Anaerobic Digestion Development Centre (ADDC) has been given permission by the Environment Agency (EA) without the need for a full environmental permit.

The ADDC, which is the first of its kind, has been developed by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Anaerobic Energy Limited to research the AD process.

The centre will assess a wide range of waste-to-energy processes in both single and mixed streams, using pre-treatment, digestion and post-treatment technologies to develop improved AD processes.

Trials at the facility will include reducing the size and costs of facilities, increasing biogas and digestate yields, improving effluent water quality, and developing purification and monitoring processes for gas-to-grid injection.

Small-scale trial projects have suffered in the past from expensive application fees and regulatory demands needed for full environmental permits, but a recent position statement from the EA on regulating trials of waste management operations now allows them to proceed for an agreed period without an environmental permit as long as they meet strict criteria.

Engineering and environmental consultancy Wardell Amstrong helped to secure permission for the ADDC to proceed with the trials.

Associate director Stephen Barnes said: “By working closely with CPI, we’ve been able to demonstrate clearly that the ADDC facility will be operated for the purposes of research and development and waste trials.

“The site will only accept about 100 tonnes of waste per year, and the Environment Agency has taken a pragmatic and helpful approach by agreeing a regulatory position statement for the first 12 months of the site’s operation.

“This has helped to reduce costs and ensure that this important work will go ahead to promote AD and the sustainable use of waste to produce biogas for energy production and digestate for use as a fertiliser.”   

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