Digestion partnership

ReFood, a joint venture between UK food waste recycler PDM Group and Saria Bio-Industries, is set to bring a slew of anaerobic digestion plants to the UK.


ReFood, a joint venture between UK food-waste recycler PDM Group and Saria Bio-Industries, is set to bring a slew of anaerobic digestion plants to the UK.


Currently, there are four ReFood plants operating in Germany, fed by a network of fourteen logistics centres that collect waste from 60,000 points across the country.


Once fully operational, the ReFood UK network will work in a similar manner to its German counterpart, with collection points located across the country supported by a network of anaerobic digestion plants.


Anaerobic digestion refers to the process of biologically breaking down organic material in the absence of oxygen.


During the process, large amounts of methane are generated, captured and used as a biogas rather than being lost to the atmosphere.


The biogas generated by ReFood’s plants will be used as a fuel for combined heat and power engines to generate heat for the processing site and for the generation of electricity.


The electricity will be used on the site in place of imported power and the excess exported to the national grid.


Planning permission has already been granted for the first ReFood UK plant, which will be based at PDM’s head office in Doncaster.


Once in place, the new facility will be able to handle around 45,000 tonnes of food waste per year, creating 2MW of renewable electricity and heat per hour as a result of the recycling process.


‘Whereas the existing (anaerobic digestion) systems already operational in the UK have either been designed to handle sewage waste or agricultural waste, ReFood’s plants have been designed and built to handle food waste.


‘As a result, the ReFood system is able to focus on recycling greater quantities of this type of material,’ said Philip Simpson, commercial services director at PDM.


As well as producing biogas for the combined heat and power units, the plants will also produce DynAgro, a nutrient-rich liquid fertiliser for use by local arable farms.