Anaerobic digestion (AD) could power 2.5 million homes by 2020 if Government implements a raft of policy changes to unshackle the industry, according to new research.
A report, Hit the Gas, by think-tank CentreForum has called for:
- A ban on biodegradable waste to landfill
- More source segregation of waste
- Sensible support for the use of purpose grown crops
- Funding from the green investment bank for fledging AD projects.
A statement by the report authors said: “AD currently produces around 1.3 TWh of energy in the UK - enough to power 300,000 homes.
“CentreForum believes that the sector can expand by more than 800% (11 TWh or 2.5 million homes) over the next eight years if the recommendations of its report are followed.”
Quentin Maxwell-Jackson, co-author of the report, said AD has many advantages over other waste treatments and it was “very surprising it has not taken off in a big way yet”.
He added: “That is because trying to get an AD scheme up and running at the moment is like trying to win a cycle race with the brakes on.”
Fellow author Thomas Brooks called on Government to ban organic waste from landfill in England, as planned in Scotland.
Lord Redesdale, chairman of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), said: “This is about more than just renewable energy. By leading the world in waste treatment through anaerobic digestion, the UK could create export markets which support tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing and other sectors.
“Anaerobic digestion will also be central to the future of sustainable food production, by recycling critical nitrates and phosphates back to land and providing economic support to the farming industry.”
“As Centre Forum have clearly shown, realising all those benefits requires action from government - a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill, more source segregation of waste, sensible support for the use of purpose grown crops, and funding from the green investment bank.”
The report will be launched at ADBA’s UK AD & Biogas 2012 trade show at the NEC Birmingham on 4 July.