Nailcote Hall is A four-star country house hotel located in Berkswell, deep in the rural Warwickshire countryside. The property boasts a championship golf course, a fine dining restaurant and leisure and spa facilities. It also happens to be the first hotel in the UK to have introduced an A2 BioNova Digester, a biodegradable energy-from-waste technology.
Waste management company ACM Recycling has been working in partnership with Nailcote Hall for a number of years, providing its existing recycling services. But the hotel was keen to look for more ways to reduce the amount of waste it sent to landfill and ACM was keen to help, suggesting that Nailcote uses one of the BioNova digesters to generate energy from its food waste.
BioNova is a treatment for the swift aerobic composting of organic waste materials. It offers a low-cost environmental solution, transforming organic waste into a bio-fuel in 48-72 hours. This fuel is then burnt in a biomass boiler, and the resulting energy supplies a constant source of hot water that Nailcote Hall uses to heat its swimming pool.
“It is a great money saver for the hotel, as well as being fantastic for the environment,” says ACM Recycling chairman Barry Bolton. “It will save the hotel somewhere in the region of £5,000 a year in fuel bills. It will also save them money as they no longer have to pay for their food waste to be collected and landfilled. Processing food waste on-site has the additional benefit of reducing traffic movements to and from the hotel, which means there is now less disruption for guests.”
As Nailcote Hall is a grade two-listed building, it was necessary to house the BioNova system sympathetically. So an annex was constructed for the system which, according to Bolton, is no bigger than a family car: “Because it is a modular system, it can be made bigger depending on requirements and another benefit is that these systems can be installed quickly.”
BioNova is a Swedish technology which has already been used successfully by companies such as Ikea and also in private schools for dealing with their food waste.
“Biomass is not a new technology,” says Bolton. “But what is different about this system is that it burns food waste fuel rather than the more traditional wood fuel. The food waste fuel actually has a much higher calorific value in terms of energy production than wood fuel, so it means this system is more efficient.”
The product of the system can also be used as a soil conditioner because it is nutritionally rich, although Bolton says it is far more efficient to use it as a fuel because of the savings in energy costs. He says the success of the BioNova system at Nailcote Hall has prompted widespread interest from other parties also looking to install it for their businesses.
“I have another group of hotels interested in using the system at all their properties. From the end user’s point of view, food waste creates a number of challenges, and we have found a solution in this system which helps them to address these challenges.”
In fact, interest in the BioNova system has been so great that, in late July, environment minister Caroline Spelman visited Nailcote Hall, which is located in her Meriden constituency, to see it in action.
Bolton says: “She was very excited to see something like this working so well in her constituency, and she is right to be excited. I see the system as being really exciting because this completely new bit of technology could revolutionise how we manage waste around the world.”