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Planning approval awarded for new anaerobic digestion plant in Doncaster

The PDM Group has been awarded planning permission for a state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Doncaster. The £12 million facility will add to PDM’s portfolio of food waste and energy generation technologies and is the latest part of the substantial investment the company is making in biomass-to-energy technologies over the next three years.

The new facility will provide an integrated solution for the recycling of food wastes diverted from landfill, as well as processing biodegradable wastes produced by the existing food factories on the site. The facility will include the latest depacking systems, digesters and a combined heat and power plant.

By harnessing the natural degrading process of biodegradable matter in a controlled environment, the new AD plant will capture the methane produced to generate 2MW per hour of renewable electricity, as well as heat for PDM’s site. The plant will also produce a high quality nutrient-rich fertiliser which will be supplied to local farms.

Andrew Smith, chief executive at PDM, comments: “We’re delighted to have been awarded planning permission for this new facility which will bolster our own recycling portfolio and also support the UK’s aim to generate more renewable energy from biomass. Anaerobic digestion plays an important part in the range of technologies that can be used to handle food waste in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.”

“As more and more retailers, caterers and businesses see the potential in recycling food rather than sending it to landfill, developing the UK’s capacity for turning food waste to energy is a must.”

Construction is due to start on the new facility shortly with the aim to have the site up and running by the end of the year. Once operational, the new facility will bring 35 jobs to the local area and recycle food waste from a number of PDM’s leading customers including Sainsbury’s and Baxter Storey.

What is anaerobic digestion?

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the term applied to the process of the biological breakdown of organic material in the absence of oxygen.

During the process organic matter such as food waste is broken down biologically and this generates large amounts of biogas; the gas is mainly made up of methane and carbon dioxide.

The process is similar to that which takes place during composting but unlike that process it is done in the absence of oxygen and the methane generated is captured and utilised as a biogas rather than being lost to the atmosphere.

The biogas generated by PDM’s AD plants will be used as a fuel for combined heat & power engines to generate heat for the processing site and for the generation of renewable electricity. The electricity will be used on the site in place of imported power and the excess exported to the national grid.

By using biogas from the AD process as a fuel the PDM plant will be displacing the use of fossil fuels; this in turn reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

As well as producing biogas for the combined heat and power units, the AD plants will also produce a nutrient-rich liquid fertiliser for use by local arable farms.

The planned AD units will complement PDM Group’s existing renewable energy generation and rendering plants.

The combination of the three complementary technologies will enable PDM Group to provide a unique range of food waste recycling services to the UK market.

Read more about PDM Group’s national food waste recycling services

Read more about PDM Group’s renewable energy operations

Click here to download further information about PDM Group’s biomass-fuelled renewable energy operations

Click here to download the food waste collection & recycling service information sheet