Anaerobic Digestion – A food waste process story

food waste 2

It is estimated that within the United Kingdom 7 milliontonnes of food is disposed of by British households each year, much of which was still fit for human consumption.

Within Scotland, increasing emphasis is being placed on reducing the level of food waste going to landfill. As a result, the government has introduced strict guidelines to reduce the volume of food ending up in landfill. In order to address this problem, the Scottish government has set a target of ensuring 70% of household waste is recycled, with a maximum of 5% sent to landfill, by the year 2025 2, and no biodegradable municipal waste is sent to landfill by 2021.3

With this issue increasingly attracting significant governmental and public attention, Binn Group has successfully formed a partnership with Earnside Energy in order to provide an integrated collection and treatment food waste solution for the whole of Scotland. Based at the Binn Ecopark, the Anaerobic Digestion facility is able to process 30,000 tonnes of food and organic waste each year.This produces around 18 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

FWS-AnaerobicDigestion-Graphics-0518-FoodWasteProcess

Food Waste Process

There are a number of key processes that food waste goes through before it is converted to digestate. This acts as a fertilizer for agriculture and power which generates electricity for homes and businesses throughout the country.

Once the food waste is collected from towns and cities across Scotland by Binn Group’s state-of-the-art fleet of trucks, it is taken to the anaerobic digestion facility based at Glenfarg, Perthshire, where it initially goes through a pre-treatment stage. This involves depackaging, shredding and liquefaction of all food products.

From there the biodegradable food waste is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen. This in turn produces digestate and biogas.

This digestate is produced to PAS110 standard and stored, before being used as a fertiliser in agriculture.

Similarly, the biogas produced is stored before being used to produce renewable energy. The power produced is used to generate electricity for homes and businesses across Scotland.

Sources:

1 https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/campaigns/food-waste

2 https://www.letsrecycle.com/councils/government-policy/

3 http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/02/1761/14

4 Anaerobic Digestion Facts – Binn Group