An £8m anaerobic digestion (AD) facility has been completed in County Durham.
Green energy company Emerald Biogas claims it is the first operational commercial food waste operation in the North-East.
The facility at Newton Aycliffe Industrial Estate will generate enough energy to power 2,000 homes each year.
It was constructed by Entec Biogas GmBH and included the installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) system.
The plant can process card, plastics and other materials associated with waste from supermarkets, fast-food outlets, businesses and schools.
Its heavy duty depackaging process can handle the more difficult waste streams such as supermarket waste, according to the company.
Phase 1 will see the processing of 50,000 of the region’s food waste. Planning permission has already been secured to expand the capacity to four times the current size.
The funding for the project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.
Resource management minister Dan Rogerson said: “Our AD loan fund has helped to support the development of this plant which will treat food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.”
Antony Warren, Emerald Biogas director, said: “We are now in the position to accept and process unwanted commercial food waste and employ the latest AD technology to create a valued commodity that will be extremely beneficial to the local business and farming community.”
- A recent Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) report suggested that £6.9 billion worth of food and packaging is being wasted every year by the UK’s grocery and manufacturing sector.