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05 Feb 2010 12:02:13

Supermarket giant to convert waste into low carbon fuel

Supermarket giant to convert waste into low carbon fuel
One of the country's largest supermarkets will turn all of its food waste into biogas by 2012 to be injected into the national grid.

Sainsbury's has signed a contract with Biffa for the company to treat its waste to anaerobic digestion (AD), an environmentally friendly means of breaking down waste.

Neil Sachdev, commercial director of the chain, said: "Respect for the environment is one of our key values, and as such, we will completely stop sending food waste to landfill within the next few weeks.

"We are desperate for greater anaerobic digestion capacity and would therefore like to see greater, clearer incentives for investment in this green technology."

AD is considered one of the most environmental-friendly and cost-effective means of disposing of waste and generating energy.

The technology is already in widespread use across Germany, where AD is the fastest growing renewable technology with over approximately 1,000 new digesters being built each year.



Discussion Thread  

05 Feb 2010

Yes it's the latest bright idea from "Techno-Crassy ". Why eat food or feed it to pets or Pigs (for instance) when - with only a moderate investment in our huge machine - you can burn it. Super !
Also you can get little windmills to stick on the top of your market which you tell everyone is running the lights and freezers. We're all pretty stupid, why worry about it ?

08 Feb 2010

And will they be digesting food that is perfectly good but at it's sell by date when it could be used for human consumption? It would be much greener to arrange things so as not to generate so much food waste in the first place!

08 Feb 2010

Sorry to pour cold water on your scepticism. Anaerobic digestion offers a number of benefits including renewable energy and stabilised fertiliser. Digesters are relatively small and can be located close to the site of waste arisings helping reduce transportation costs. Small generation facilities help to strengthen electricity grids and reduce electricity transportation losses associated with moving power from massive centralised power plants. With full combined heat and power the energy efficiency of digestion plants can reach 90%.

The fact is that for many years waste food has been landfilled, where yes it anaerobically digests. If it’s not captured it is released into the atmosphere where the methane is far more polluting than carbon dioxide. Food is wasted in great quantities across the globe and especially here in the UK. Yes, the focus should be on reducing waste and not disposing of perfectly eatable material. However some waste food is unpreventable - think peelings, banana skins, fats and wastes from processing foods. Also, like it or not a good proportion of food goes off before use. Have you never thrown out food from your fridge or freezer you could have eaten?

The alternatives to anaerobic digestion are landfill, incineration and gasification. Incineration or gasification of food waste is not a logical approach with regards to energy. A large amount of the energy is input simply to evaporate the water content of the food waste.

If we look at where most of our electricity comes from - finite stores of fossilised plant and animal matter, large amounts of which are held by dubious governments we cannot rely on, that we simply dig up. Extraction costs of this material will rise as they run out. Whether or not global warming is happening we cannot carry on burning this material inefficiently and taking it for granted.

Wake up and look at the big picture. Global society cannot go on the way it has been for the last century.

Discussion Thread  


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