Environment secretary Hilary Benn has announced that five companies are to receive UK government grants to develop new processes that will create energy from organic waste, such as food.
The systems the companies are developing, to be built between now and the end of March 2011, are being funded by the £10m Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme, administered by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Anaerobic digestion is a process that can be used to break down organic matter, such as animal manure and food waste, to produce biogas, a renewable energy source. As an added benefit, the organic waste is kept out of landfill, which cuts greenhouse-gas emissions.
Benn said: ‘We need to rethink the way we deal with waste – we must see it as a resource, not a problem. In the UK, we produce 100m tonnes of food and other organic waste every year that we could be using to create enough heat and energy to run more than two million homes. This new technology will provide a source of renewable energy while reducing methane emissions from agriculture and landfill by diverting organic waste, especially food waste, from landfill.’
Further details on each project and its progress can be found at http://www.wrap.org.uk/etf.