Construction work is set to begin on a 2.5MW anaerobic digestion (AD) and renewable energy plant in March, Cambridgeshire, dubbed the "largest in the region", after planners gave it the go-ahead

Mansfield-based AD and biogas-to-energy company Monsal said it had today (September 29) completed the first phase of planning and pre-design for the plant, which is expected to produce heat and electricity from a combination of locally sourced food waste, as well as potato waste produced by Fenmarc, a food packaging and processing company adjacent to the site.

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A company, Local Generation Ltd, has been specifically established to operate the plant following completion in 2010, with Monsal providing operational support.

Local Generation is a subsidiary of holding company Lifecrown Investments, which also owns Fenmarc. It called the plant the “largest planned in the region” and said it intends to sell the heat and power produced to local homes and businesses, including Fenmarc.

As well as generating renewable energy from biogas, the food waste, which currently goes to landfill, will be processed and recycled to provide 12,000 tonnes a year of high grade compost. Monsal expects construction to start in 2010 once permits are in place.

The March plant will convert local food waste and potato waste from an adjacent food company into electricity, heat and compost

Aidan Cumiskey, managing director of Monsal said: “The plant can treat a large variety of biowaste streams including kitchen and household food waste and convert them to renewable energy. This is our first major success with the food sector and we expect continued uptake as a “greening” of the UK food industry supply chain takes place in the coming years.”

Mark Harrod, Chairman of Lifecrown added: “This project addresses two of today’s most pressing problems; climate change and food waste management. By treating energy as a precious resource we can maximise value for all concerned.”

In addition to heat and power, the plant is also set to produce up to of soil conditioner suitable for improving local Fenland soils and create 10 to 15 new jobs.

Local Generation director Nick Waterman said: “The UK Government wants businesses like ours to invest and create new jobs in green technologies as well as deliver sustainable solutions and that is exactly what we are going to do. We hope that people in March, Fenland and Cambridgeshire will be very proud to have one of the first AD plants in the UK operating in the region.”

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