The ready meals factory R F Brookes, owned by Premier Foods Plc, at Rogerstone, near Newport, will use anaerobic digestion (AD) technology to supply heat, power and compost.
Being developed by InSource Energy Limited, the £5 million ($7.5 million) AD system and gas engine will supply up to 10% of the factory’s energy demand, having a gross output of around 1 MW.
Gas for the engine will be supplied using food waste left over from the production of ready meals and the AD system will treat approximately 10,000 tonnes of waste annually.
The unit will be built and operated by Premier Renewable Energy Limited, a subsidiary of InSource Energy, itself a jointly owned by the Carbon Trust and Scottish and Southern Energy Plc.
Funding of £500,000 (US$750,000) was provided by the UK’s Welsh Assembly government.
Jane Davidson, minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, said: ‘Food waste is a major challenge for us all and it is vital that as well as minimising the amount of waste we create, we reduce the amount of that waste that goes to landfill. This will make a vital contribution to reducing our carbon footprint.’
InSource’s managing director John Scott said: ‘We are delighted to have secured this investment which will help us to realise this significant development in the on-site treatment of biodegradable waste for Premier Foods. The level of venture capital that is being made available to us should also give confidence to other investors and encourage them to fund companies developing sustainable solutions to the treatment of biodegradable waste.’
Scott explained further, pointing to a number of other factors that make such relatively small on-site projects potentially more attractive than large-scale centralised waste-to-energy plants. For the owner, these factors include a secure and environmentally responsible waste disposal strategy, as well as the financial benefits of stable on-site generation costs and a guaranteed fuel supply. Meanwhile, the developer wishing to finance such a scheme has a guaranteed waste stream and long-term demand.