AD sees significant growth says latest sector survey

Published December 16th, 2014

Anaerobic digestion (AD) has grown significantly in the UK, according to the latest sector survey (ASORI), published today by WRAP.

WRAP’s comprehensive study of the AD sector for the calendar year 2013, shows that: the number of operational sites increased by 34% (up from 87 to 117); operating capacity is up by 55% (from 2.07mt to 3.20mt); 51% more organic material is being processed (from 1.69mt to 2.55mt); and, employment in the sector has increased by 36% (with 482 full-time equivalent jobs compared to 354 in 2012).

In addition, there has been an increase in all the types of feedstocks processed – separated solid food, liquids, manures and crops. However, food and drink waste continues to be the largest proportion of the material processed – with separated solid food accounting for 38% of the feedstocks reported in the survey and liquids 30%.

Food manufacturers and processors provide the biggest proportion of the feedstock, however the volume of material sourced from local authority collections, has increased by more than a third**.

Over a million tonnes of digestate (the product of AD) was applied to agricultural land in 2013 – that’s 98% of total digestate use – demonstrating the benefits of readily available nutrients as well as potentially reducing the reliance on inorganic fertilisers.

Ian Wardle, Head of Organics and Energy at WRAP, said: “It’s fantastic to see such positive results from this survey. The industry is turning a wide variety of wastes into valuable renewable energy and digestate that can be used by farmers as a fertiliser.

“Each year we are seeing the sector grow and this year’s data shows the AD industry is starting to make a marked contribution to the UK economy. Industry has always supported this survey and this year’s excellent response is testament to that.”

The report was commissioned by WRAP, working in partnership with the Renewable Energy Association’s Organics Recycling Group (REAORG), Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), and the Environmental Services Association (ESA). It is widely recognised as the most definitive picture of the organics recycling industry.

For more information on anaerobic digestion contact your local Berrys office.

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More about Nick Williams

BSc (Hons) MSc MRTPI
Planning Consultant
Tel: 01743 267061
Mobile: 07710 691235

Nick joined Berrys in May 2010, he is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He graduated from an MSc in Environmental Planning at Liverpool John Moore’s University and previously from the University of Exeter with an honours degree in Geography. Nick became an Associate Partner of the firm in April 2015.

Nick has a wealth of private sector experience having worked as a minerals and waste planner at a national environmental and engineering consultancy based in Shrewsbury prior to his time at Berrys. Since joining Berrys he has project managed a large number of complex planning projects and has secured a significant number of planning approvals across a broad range of sectors. Approvals have ranged from single dwellings and conversion schemes through to large scale agricultural, commercial, renewable energy, and residential developments.