Planning approval received for U.K. anaerobic digestion plant

By PDM Group | October 10, 2012

Planning permission was granted on Oct. 8 for a new, industrial-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Widnes, U.K. PDM Group, the UK’s largest food waste recycler, has been granted permission to build a 4 MW AD plant on its existing rendering and renewable energy generation site.

The development is the latest phase in PDM’s plan to expand its ReFood AD brand across the UK and the company has pledged to spend £40 million ($64 million) building two new plants. Construction is due to commence in Widnes next month, with completion expected late 2013.

With the capacity to handle 90,000 metric tons of commercial and domestic food waste, the £20 million Widnes plant will generate enough energy for approximately 8,000 homes, as well as heat which will be used by its rendering operation on site and by adjacent businesses. The organic fertilizer produced will be used by farmers in the local area to grow new crops.

The new AD plant will create 40 new jobs in sales, operations, engineering, admin and finance. The company is now beginning the process of recruiting the commercial and operations teams.

PDM opened its first ReFood plant in Doncaster in September 2011, which has set the benchmark in AD plant construction and operation. The new plant at Widnes will have 50 percent more capacity, with three combined-heat-and-power (CHP) engines to convert the biogas produced during the AD process into renewable electricity.

 “We’re delighted to have received permission to build the new facility on our Widnes site,” said Philip Simpson, commercial director at PDM. “While the site already operates rendering and biomass to energy plants, the AD plant will offer another sustainable solution to our portfolio in the Northwest. This development is the latest in our long standing commitment to developing the Widnes site to create a unique range of recycling and renewable energy services at a single location.”

This area is an important hub in terms of food manufacture and retail distribution, so it’s the ideal place to offer such treatments for the 10 million plus tonnes of food waste the UK generates.

“Demand for food waste recycling solutions is growing amongst businesses at every stage of the food chain,” Simpson continued. “Our vision for ReFood is to develop a network of plants, providing food waste collection and recycling services to a 50 mile radius of the plant. It is the only service of its kind in the UK, offering customers reliable and cost effective collections, sanitized bins and safe, secure and sustainable processing.”