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Anaerobic digestion biogas to provide 10% of UK energy by 2020

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) predicts that farmers, commercial operators and local authorities will build 1000 anaerobic digestion biogas plants in the next five years at a cost of £5 billion, mostly funded by the private sector.

The anaerobic digestion biogas plants could meet two thirds of Britain's renewable energy targets by 2020, ADBA says.

Anaerobic digestion, which is already widely implemented in EU countries such as Germany and in the water industry in the UK, uses micro-organisms to break down agricultural and household waste to produce methane gas, which can then be converted into electricity or heat or injected directly into the gas or electricity grids.

ABDA believes the industry will employ 20,000 - 40,000 people producing up to 20% of Britain's domestic gas supply.

Lord Redesdale, Chairman of ADBA says: "At a time when the cost and security of our gas supply is in jeopardy, when there is so much public support for renewable technologies, and when we do not look like we are going to hit our renewable and recycling targets, it is surprising that anaerobic digestion is not one of our top priorities. Anaerobic digestion will convert waste into power, with the added benefit that the residue is a fertiliser that can be put back on the land."

At present there are only a small number of anaerobic digestion biogas plants in England, however over half a billion pounds has already been committed to anaerobic digestion biogas plants that are currently being built or awaiting planning.

ABDA predicts that 75% of anaerobic digestion biogas plants will be in the agricultural sector, helping farmers to diversify into energy and reduce their overheads. 25% of plants will deal with municipal or household green waste helping councils cut their waste bills and meet their waste targets

ABDA says it will be producing a waste map of England over the next year to facilitate the construction of anaerobic digestion plants regionally.

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