Anaerobic Digestion (AD)
Non-thermal energy from waste technologies
Anaerobic digestion is a process which converts carbon containing biodegradable matter such as food and garden waste, and farm slurry, into a gas, which can then be combusted to recover energy.
AD breaks down this waste in an anaerobic (oxygen free) environment to produce a gas, which can be supplied for use as a fuel or combusted on site to generate electricity and heat. The material left over at the end of the process (digestate) can be used as fertilisers and soil conditioners, if it meets the Quality Protocol PAS 110.
How it works
There is currently support in the UK for the development of AD for treating wet organic wastes, which are often problematic. If the wastes are dry, more energy can be extracted using other thermal technologies.
The Government has produced a variety of guidance to support the use of AD e.g. The joint Government and Industry Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan for England was published by DEFRA on 14 June 2011.
The UK produces over 100 million tonnes of organic material that could be used to produce biogas.