The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Rubbish In Methane Out

30 June 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

Food waste producers are being offered the chance to play a part in transforming the renewable energy landscape, by contributing to the first anaerobic digestion feedstock specifically designed to give a guaranteed production of biomethane.

The blended ‘soup’ – manufactured from food waste and sold to anaerobic digester (AD) operators under the Ch4rger brand – is mixed to a fixed specification. It provides AD operators with a consistent product, which supports a finely-tuned biocommunity that ‘eats’ waste to produce valuable biomethane. This keeps plants at peak performance and in turn, leads to a more regular production of gas.

Nigel Lee at Amur – which produces Ch4rger – described the new product as a natural development for the company. Amur’s parent company, AB Agri, has been routing food manufacturing by-products into animal feeds for 36 years. He explained that by buying into the concept, food manufacturers will be able to fully exploit the value inherent in co-products and wastes by pushing them through the channel which generates the most value (animal feed or AD), while also guaranteeing the best possible environmental performance.

Lee said: “Through Ch4rger, we offer a sustainable solution for those wastes that may not be suitable for animal feeds. In practice, this means we are able to advise customers on the most cost effective route for by-products. Most producers these days prefer the AD route for residual food waste but productivity varies hugely between plants. If customers choose to send animal by-product and other wastes to Amur, they can be certain that their material will not just be a tick towards sustainability – any food waste used to make Ch4rger is having a significant impact on the productivity of the AD plant it feeds.”

Lee explained that many AD plants struggle to optimise gas production. This is largely due to variance in the food waste put into the plant. “Just like the human stomach, the bacteria that produce biomethane struggle when the feedstock changes. Feeding a plant consistently really helps the bacterial population and health, which, in turn, helps to optimise the volumes and consistency of gas which is produced.”



Amur has built its own AD gas to grid site. The 3MW facility in Yorkshire is processing 60,000 tonnes of food waste, to deliver 40,000 MwH per year. Lee said: “We built the plant because we wanted to show the industry that we can do a good job, but we also wanted to completely understand the pitfalls and challenges involved in operating an AD plant. Our priority is the biological health of our plant; we are feeding it 100 per cent on our Ch4rger recipe and the biology is extremely consistent.”

Picture: Consistency of the food waste going in is key biomethane coming out an anaerobic digestion plant

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 30 June 2017


Related Articles

Waste Not, Want Not

A charity organisation dedicated to fighting hunger and tackling food waste in the UK is now being given support from Compass Group UK & Ireland. The partnership will...

 Read Full Article
FM Companies Show Commitment to Food Waste Action Week

Companies such as Sodexo, ISS and Compass Group have all joined the campaign to halve food waste by 2030. Around a third of the food we produce worldwide is lost or...

 Read Full Article
IoT Sensors and Catering – Global Restaurant Chain Saved £1.25M in Food Stock

An IoT smart building system has helped a global restaurant chain in the UK save £1.25M during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Infogrid’s smart building...

 Read Full Article
The Planet Mark Offer Sustainability Investment with Crowdfunder

The Planet Mark is partnering with Crowdfunder, the UK’s number one crowdfunding platform, to deliver sustainability funding to entrepreneurs and...

 Read Full Article
Stand Up for Food Month – Tackling Food Waste in the Commercial Sector

Stand up for Food Month is an awareness campaign bringing attention and reduction to the £3 billion of food thrown away at hospitality and foodservice outlets....

 Read Full Article
Six Ways Facilities Managers Can Plan For A More Sustainable Future

In honour of Earth Day, here are six simple ways facilities managers can plan for a more sustainable future.  It’s a common misconception that making...

 Read Full Article
Power Rangers - Waste Firms Divert Landfill To Energy

Washroom services operator, the PHS Group has announced a new partnership with Viridor which will divert customer waste from landfill into power generation. As part of...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo's Food Fight Goes Wonky

Sodexo has embraced wonky fruit and veg in the fight against food waste. The company has launched its initiative, known as Wasteful to Tasteful, to help reduce the volume...

 Read Full Article
Acorn Sustainability Report

Acorn Engineering Group has published its first free Sustainability Report which looks at the environmental and social performance of the business over calendar year...

 Read Full Article
Corporate Societal Impact - What Are The Measures?

A study has examined the methods companies use to measure their impact on society. The Conference Board (with bases in a number of countries) has released a study with...

 Read Full Article