AD in the UK

In 2011 WRAP and the NNFCC, the UK’s National Centre for BioRenewable Fuel, Energy and Materials produced a report which baselined the UK AD industry. The baseline covers the whole of the UK AD industry including the water industry and sites accepting food waste and farm- based waste processors.

As of September 2011 there were 214 AD plants in the UK accepting a variety of feedstock types: Food Waste, Farm Wastes, Purpose Grown Crops and Waste Water & Sewage with:

an overall capacity to process more than 5 million tonnes of material per annum
a total installed generating capacity of over 170MWe
  Two of these plants inject biogas directly into the gas grid.

The headline figure of 68 AD units outside the water industry is a positive reflection of the industry's development compared to 2005 when there were just two such AD plants. In Northern Ireland there were 2 AD units in September 2011, both of which are processing farm fed plants. Given the goals set for renewable energy in the UK and particularly Northern Ireland, there is still a lot more to be done!

Waste-fed AD plants are those which accept feedstock which, in whole or in part, comprises of food waste from commercial & industrial sources and/or municipal source segregated waste. There are 44 Waste-fed AD plants in the UK with; a processing capacity of around 3.7 million tonnes per annum and a potential to generate around 54MW of electricity Farm-fed sites are defined in accordance with the definition used by the Environment Agency. They are on-farm AD plants which process manure/ slurries and purpose-grown crops. The majority process a combination of the following feedstock types:

Cattle slurries & manures
Poultry litter
Pig slurries & manures
Maize silage
Grass silage
Whole crop silage
Fodder beet

There are 24 farm-fed AD plants operating in the UK with; a capacity to process around 200k tonnes of feedstock per annum. Two of these units are demonstrator scale facilities with a combined processing capacity of no more than 13,000 tonnes per annum.

The Future

As of September 2011 There were:

78 waste fed plants which have received planning consent in the UK;
a further 27 farm fed plants which have received planning consent in the UK;
Additionally there are another 80 plants within the planning system awaiting the outcome of their application.

For details of how you can be part of this exciting project email

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