Why establish an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) project?

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Because we need Renewable energy!

Renewable energy is energy produced without using non-renewable resources. Fossil fuels (such as coal and oil), are non-renewable resources and cause climate change because the carbon dioxide produced is added to the natural cycle and depletes the oxygen in our atmosphere.

Any development producing energy from renewable sources is generally considered to be environmentally beneficial.

Problems of pollution, current rates of consumption of exhaustible supplies of fossil fuels, and dependence on imported fuels associated with conventional methods of energy production are generally seen as unsatisfactory and unsustainable.

After all the reserves of fossil fuels such as oil are expected to peak within the next 10 years, so before long there will be a shortage of non-fossil fuels anyway.

Energy from AD offers great potential for using renewable (waste material) resources for electricity, heat, and combined heat and power generation. It is also carbon neutral (ie does not generate extra carbon dioxide), and can therefore reduce overall quantities of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing dangers of climate change, when it is used to replace energy from fossil fuels.

Adoption of the AD process can lead to improvements in the management of farm and food processing residues, and there may be significant further environmental and ecological.

All renewable energy developments must be seen in the context of UK and EU policy on sustainable development: that is, development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

AD projects may be initiated from several backgrounds:

  • Commercial interests such as electricity companies, fertiliser and compost manufacturers
  • Local community initiatives such as partnerships in the areas of Waste Management, and between local authorities and farmers
  • Agricultural Residues (waste) producers (farmers, land owners and food processors).

Different interests will have different priorities in wanting to establish an AD project.

Some of the main reasons for developing an AD project are summarised below.

Reduction of pollution through integrated waste management:

  • AD offers an opportunity to reduce odour.
  • AD can reduce nitrate pollution of water courses because run-off is reduced through more effective control of nutrient application to land.
  • If applied correctly, AD may reduce the risks of the spread of disease and weed seeds.
  • Well-managed AD can control methane emissions more effectively than some other waste management methods.
  • AD therefore helps farmers and others to respond to new regulations and public pressure to increase the effectiveness of farm residue management.

Increased income and savings

AD can generate income from sale of biogas (as electricity), liquor and fibre products.

AD can offer financial savings through the use of the products on-site avoiding the costs of synthetic fertilisers, other soil conditioners and energy from other sources.

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