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UK anaerobic digestion industry celebrates tremendous growth

The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has grown 441 percent in the last three years, and looking forward to a further 800 percent growth, cementing its role as a key technology in delivering the UK’s future energy security. The good news was disseminated at the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) National Conference in London on 12 December 2012.

Charlotte Morton, ADBA, chief executive said that while the global economy remains slow to recover, the AD market has exploded contributing to the continued growth seen in the UK green economy reaching eight percent of GDP today. According to Morton, AD is central to the circular economy – delivering for the economy, energy and food security, climate change, air quality and biodiversity.

Reacting to the government’s decision to give the green light to Cuadrilla to explore shale gas in Lancashire, Charlotte Morton deplored that the debate about unconventional gas risks excludes the best source we have: biogas from anaerobic digestion. Upgraded to bio-methane, it is already replacing fossil gas in the grid, and has the potential to meet ten percent of the UK’s domestic gas demand, she said. It is ultra-low carbon and has a range of positive environmental impacts, in the process treating food waste and supporting farming. She added that the government should be putting green gas first, by giving long term policy certainty to investors and developers, and ensuring that policies such as local authority waste collections make as much organic material available for digestion as possible.

The one-day conference looked at the challenges the industry and its development face as a result of the political and financial climates, what the industry must do to respond to this environment and ensure its successful growth.

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