In a newly uploaded web page, Friends of the Earth (FoE) are inviting to support anaerobic digestion

FoE call upon the Government to:

Stop taxpayers’ money being used to fund incinerators and demand investment in new biogas plants instead.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a biological process that produces biogas – rich in methane – from food and farm waste. The biogas can be used as a source of 100% renewable energy by:
* Feeding it into the gas grid.
* Burning it to generate electricity and supply heat for community heating schemes.
* Using it as a transport fuel.

FoE explain that:

AD has not been used much in the UK so far, but its climate benefits mean there is now a lot of interest in increasing its use. Lots of councils, companies and farmers are hoping to use it in the future.

Under the heading Up in smoke FoE continues:

But dozens of councils are planning to build large incinerators, which will require huge amounts of waste every year. These will burn food waste that could be anaerobically digested. This makes no sense in the fight against climate change.

Incinerators contribute to climate change, even if they also generate electricity by:
* Generating energy so inefficiently that their carbon dioxide emissions are worse than fossil fuel power stations.
* Burning materials that could be recycled, which would save energy.

Alternatives such as recycling and AD are much better for the climate than incineration.

Under the heading Misspent taxes FoE states:

The government is offering councils £2 billion of taxpayer funding to subsidise new waste plants.Much of this money is going to be spent on incineration unless we can change the Government’s mind.

FoE then provides a form letter addressed to Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment.

One Response to “FoE asks for your help to support AD”

  1. [AD = Anaerobic Digestion]

    I attended the 2000 Biogas Event in Linkoping, Sweden, and there began my intensive investigation into Anaerobic Digestion/Biogas at my own expense.

    I have subsequently visited several biogas plants in Sweden and Denmark and toured the Holsworthy installation in Devon very many times with various groups.

    I have found that given the right conditions [which aren’t really that difficult to achieve] the only outcomes are positive ones. They are [in no particular order]:

    1. There is an output of free liquid phase fertiliser that can easily be assayed in terms of potassium, phosphorus and fixed nitrogen in order that farmers may know exactly how much fertiliser to apply. The fertiliser is of a much lower odour than untreated organic waste and in addition has a lower associated fly nuisance. Furthermore, as the AD plant pasteurises the incoming organic waste feedstock, there is a clean parasite-free fertiliser product without such things as TB, E. coli, weed seeds, etc. Depending on the available feedstock there could be a solid phase remaining after digestion. This material can be considered to be a peat substitute except that peat does not have anywhere near the nutrients that AD solid phase can offer. It is better than peat.

    2. Most informed people understand that we are running out of fossil fuel and all the ramifications of that scenario are on view within the Peak Oil Aware Community. The logical imperative is clear. We must find alternatives. AD provides storable energy in the form of biogas. Biogas can cook the dinner, generate green electricity and furthermore when refined to 98% methane [rather than the 65% of raw biogas] can power vehicles such as cars, lorries and buses and even trains [in Sweden].

    3. The strategic advantage that the biogas technology can give us is considerable. The organic waste is dealt with at source and local energy needs can be part dealt with using local AD. We are effectively living right in the middle of our own gas fields that will never run out. There is much less need to engage in resource wars. AD, if implemented nationally, at the local level will provide many jobs. Moreover, using AD we will no longer be dependent on a national gas grid that terrorist activity can severely disrupt in the overall national perspective as there would be very many such local decentralised plants. For Britain to be reliant on pipelines and liquid natural gas container ships is hardly energy security and I remind HM Government of their legal obligations on this matter.

    4. The deeply pressing matter of what to do with our waste is very clearly addressed by AD. One of the most dangerous components of Municipal Solid Waste [MSW] is the organic waste fraction. Whenever organic waste is not in contact with oxygen the anaerobic bacteria do their work and some of these bacteria are methanogenic producing methane gas. If this gas is not captured, it will incorporate with the atmosphere where it has a potency some 20 or more times more than that of carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas potency. The major problem is to educate the public to source-separate their waste into organic and non-organic. Organic goes straight to the AD plant whereas the other non-organic stream can be separated at a waste facility at leisure. Organic waste can be rightly regarded as fuel and suppliers of high quality fuel are entitled to expect a monetary reward for supplying it. Local currency based on the [green] kWh can be issued for use in the local community/AD catchment area where the organic weaste is harvested. More [interest-free] money in pockets in these crunchy credit times…

    AD turns a problem into a solution. Nutrients are returned to the earth. There is only the use of today’s carbon cycle and none of ancient carbon. It is a wonderful technology but for energy purposes, it is not enough by itself. AD is part of a greater energy and waste resource portfolio. Incineration is criminal in comparison to AD.

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