Micro anaerobic digesters in Keswick – turning food waste into green energy

In and around Cumbria there are lots of fantastic cafes, hotels, restaurants and B&Bs. Inevitably, there’s some food waste generated, which is a waste of resources.

We have just got involved in an exciting project that is looking to take that food waste from the Keswick area and transform it into energy that can be used locally.

Working on behalf of local community group SusKes, we have been tasked to get the community’s views on the project, thanks to funding from WRAP through the Rural Community Energy Fund.

The plan is for several ‘micro’ anaerobic digesters to be located at community facilities. These sealed vessels allow naturally occurring anaerobic microorganisms to flourish, breaking down the food waste to produce biogas and a substance called ‘digestate’. The biogas can be captured and used to generate light, heat or electricity or converted to biomethane and used in the same way we use natural gas. The digestate is an excellent replacement for nitrogen fertiliser for soil.

Depending on their size, the digesters would be able to process between 15kg and 600kg of waste food into renewable biogas each day. The plan is to site the digesters at community facilities that could use the clean energy – a real closed loop.

We’re consulting with people in the area at the moment and we’d love to hear your views – whether you’re from Keswick or elsewhere in Cumbria. You can fill in our short survey online. It will take you around 2 minutes and help us secure funding we need to make it a reality.

Survey: Micro anaerobic digesters in Keswick

 

Micro AD schemes in the UK

These clever systems are used extensively around the world – in India, for example. Here in the UK, there is a micro AD scheme up and running in London. You can find out more about it on the LEAP Micro AD website.

 

About the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF)

RCEF is a £15 million programme, delivered by WRAP and jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS). It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable-energy projects that provide economic and social benefits to the community.

There’s more information about RCEF at www.wrap.org.uk/renewables.