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PDM commits £110m to develop new renewable energy facilities

Food recycling service firm PDM Group has committed £110 million to develop new renewable energy facilities and processes in the UK to tackle retail food waste over the next three years.

The British-based company has also announced that it will be working with Sainsburys, from February, to roll out a nationwide food waste recycling service which will divert waste from landfill into renewable heat and electricity (see MRW story).

PDM will build five new renewable energy plants, using both biomass and anaerobic digestion processes. It will build an AD plant in Doncaster, near its head office and has been awarded planning permission for a £25m biomass-to-energy plant at Widnes, Merseyside. It also plans to build a renewable energy combustion plant at Nuneaton.

The company will recycle 17,000 tonnes of food waste from Sainsburys each year. This forms part of Sainsburys nationwide commitment to stop sending all its food waste to landfill by summer 2009 (see MRW story).  It will either process Sainsburys food waste through the rendering process, a process that separates fats from organic material to create biofuel, or through the AD process.

PDM collects unsold or unusable food products from 16,000 retail chains. These products are recycled to produce biofuels or generate renewable energy.

PDM commercial director Philip Simpson told MRW: Our plans are to deliver safe and sustainable recycling process services to the whole food chain. We dont just look at one element. Its not just delivering, for instance, AD to tackle food waste. Its looking at the whole food chain from the farm right down to the plate and the systems along that route that are most applicable to each individual market segment.

Mr Simpson said that AD was not the silver bullet to tackle food waste in the UK but rather one of a number of techniques need to be deployed. He said: There are materials that are more suited to AD that are not suitable for rendering and vice versa. We dont believe that AD is suitable for meat applications. It lends itself more towards mixed meat products, like sandwiches, for example. We would put pure meat products into rendering because you are extracting the fat and left with the protein.

Its not just one size fits all. Its not just delivering AD to food waste. We dont just promote one technology because that is what we do. Its using the right system for the right application.

 Image: PDM head office in Doncaster

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