It’s no secret that food wastage is a major problem in the UK and worldwide. With millions of tonnes of edible food being thrown away every year, it’s disheartening to see the impact this has on the environment. However, what many people don’t know is that waste can be a valuable resource.

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In this article, we’ll explore how food wastage can be used to produce biogas for business and industrial applications - a renewable fuel that is environmentally friendly.

The beauty of biogas production is that it’s incredibly versatile. Biogas can be used to fuel heating systems in homes and businesses, power vehicles, and even generate electricity. In fact, biogas is already commonly used in countries like Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, where it’s considered a leading renewable energy source.

How Is Biogas Produced From Food Waste?

Anaerobic digestion (AD) plants are the key to turning food waste and agricultural by-products into biogas. The process involves breaking down organic matter, such as food waste, in a sealed chamber without oxygen. As anaerobic microorganisms consume the food waste, biogas is produced and collected at the top of the chamber. This biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide - the primary components of natural gas.

In the UK, there has been a rise in the number of AD plants in recent years. According to ADBA (Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association), there are now over 600 AD plants in the UK, with the capacity to process up to 10 million tonnes of food waste annually. By transitioning to bioenergy as a sustainable fuel source, many businesses and organisations are making significant strides to combat climate change.

Moreover, AD plants not only produce biogas but also create nutrient-rich organic fertilisers that can be used in agriculture. This process is known as digestate and creates a valuable resource for farmers. Digestate fertilisers provide several benefits for farmers, such as improved soil fertility, increased crop productivity, and better soil structure. By using digestate, farmers can reduce the costs and environmental impact associated with synthetic fertilisers and improve their crop yields.

Why Biogas Usage Is Important

One of the major advantages of using biogas is that it's a renewable energy source, without direct dependence on fossil fuels. Biogas production also has a low carbon footprint, making it an environmentally friendly option. Not only does biogas usage reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also help tackle the societal impact of food wastage costs by reclaiming the economic value of un-used food.

According to information cited in the blog of the World Wildlife Fund, around 6% to 8% of all global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stopped wasting food. By reducing the amount of food waste we generate and putting this waste to better use, we could significantly help to reduce our overall carbon footprint.

You may be wondering what types of food waste can be used in anaerobic digestion.

The answer is surprisingly varied - everything from baked goods to chewing gum can be put to use. In fact, the ADBA has claimed that up to 50% of all food waste in the UK is considered suitable for AD. That’s a huge amount of waste that could be turned into a valuable resource.

Next Steps

At RM Walsh, we provide high quality spark plugs and spare components for a wide variety of industrial engines and equipment, including renewable energy applications. To find out more, please get in touch with one of our experienced team today.

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