Seven bidders have been named as the first round winners of funding for cutting-edge waste technologies to treat and divert biodegradable municipal waste (BMW).
More than £30 million is available from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to run pilot schemes in partnership with local authorities and industry that will aim to divert kitchen and garden waste from landfill.
This is part of the New Technologies Demonstrator Programme, which is formed of two funding programmes designed to help encourage the take-up of new technologies in the treatment and diversion of BMW.
Each pilot will look at different ways to establish the commercial viability of emerging and near-market waste technologies.
Environment minister Elliot Morley said: I fully expect that once the initial demonstration plants are up and running, the schemes will receive a steady stream of local authority decision makers, waste management companies and other stakeholders, including overseas visitors.
We need to make sure they come away more informed and more confident about the types of technology that could help to address their waste management needs.
Preferred bids in the first round were WasteGen UK, Devon County Council, Premier Waste Management, Greenfinch, Golder Associates, ADAS Consulting and Fairport.
Technologies that are being investigated include anaerobic and aerobic digestion, mechanical biological treatment, pyrolysis, gasification and in-vessel composting.
Five operational demonstration plants are planned for the end of 2005, with a further five due by the end of 2006. They will be subject to strict environmental standards and will run over two years.
The diversion of BMW from landfill is a key objective under the Landfill Directive.
In 2020, the UK can landfill only 35% of the BMW it did in 1995.
Also, one tonne of biodegradable waste produces between 200 and 400m2 of landfill gas. Landfills released 25% of the UKs methane emissions in 2001, which is 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
A second round of bidding has been opened for funding under the New Technologies Demonstrator Programme, running until November 30.