Defra funds UK anaerobic digestion projects

By Anna Austin
Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:22 a.m. CST

Five U.K.-based anaerobic digestion projects have been awarded ₤10 million ($15.7 million) in grants under the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) Anaerobic Digestion Program.

The program aims to maximize the cost-effective production and environmental benefits of biogas production, maximize the potential of biogas to reduce carbon emissions and the opportunities for injection of methane into the gas grid, and to maximize the potential of biogas to help to reduce the carbon footprint of water treatment infrastructure.

The grants will help with costs of constructing the facilities, and will be administered by the Defra Waste and Resources Action Program.

Biocycle South Shropshire, operating company for Ludlow GreenFinch's anaerobic digestion facility previously supported under the Defra New Technologies Demonstrator Program, will install a technology designed to increase methane gas yields up to 15 percent by breaking down cell structures prior to digestion.

Green Wold Energy in East Yorkshire will receive funds for a proposed 50,000 metric ton food waste processing anaerobic digestion facility near Driffield.

Blackmore Vale Dairy will use the funds to utilize a technology designed to deal with high-strength effluents of the dairy processes, providing Blackmore with electricity and heat, some of which will be exported to the grid. Digestate produced at the plant will be further processed into higher quality products by a neighboring compost facility, and the waste water will be discharged to a sewer at lower costs due to reduced pollution loadings.

Stapes Group will install a thermophilic anaerobic digestion facility on its vegetable processing site in Wrangle, Lincolnshire, to process out-of-specification material and trimmings generated by retail contractors. Electricity will be used on site and purchased by a major retailer, and the digestate will be used as a fertilizer.

United Utilities will divert 250 cubic meters per hour of biogas produced at its existing Davyhulme waste water treatment works into a biogas upgrading facility. Part of the biogas will be used to fuel up to 23 converted sludge tankers via a dispensing system, and the remaining biogas will be conditioned and injected into the grid by Nation Grid Gas plc.

The projects are expected to be completed by the end of March 2011.

To learn more about the Defra Anaerobic Digestion Program, visit