Anaerobic digestion and energy from waste have been highlighted as two of the top 10 vital renewable technologies for smart cities, in a new Green Investment Bank published report published about the best ways to modernise and improve UK urban infrastructure.
The report, “Smarter, greener cities: ten ways to modernise and improve UK urban infrastructure” states that cities across the UK have an opportunity to unlock immediate benefits by investing in 10 types of green infrastructure, each of which is already being used in at least one UK town or city and has the capability to be rolled-out immediately and at scale across the country.
The 10 areas for investment are anaerobic digestion; on-site combined heat and power; district heating; distributed renewables; LED street lighting; energy from waste; energy efficiency building retrofits; low carbon public transport fleets; electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and data and communications infrastructure.
In his foreword to the report, the UK Green Investment Bank’s chief executive, Shaun Kingsbury, wrote: “This reports sets out 10 illustrative examples of the kind of infrastructure that will make our cities truly smarter, bringing real social, economic and environmental benefits. Each of the technologies we profile in this report is tried and tested and available to be deployed, at scale, right across the UK, straight away. Taken together they represent an investment opportunity in excess of £25bn over the next five years alone.
“The UK Green Investment Bank was set up to help finance this type of green infrastructure investment. We are here to help progress the tough projects and find innovative solutions to make sure developers have the upfront capital required to finance them.
“The UK was, famously, the birthplace of the industrial revolution that triggered a global movement of people towards cities. We are known the world over for the elegant and effective infrastructure built to support that growth. The challenge for us now is to build a new generation of infrastructure that will equip us for future generations as well as the Victorians equipped us for the past.”
On the inclusion of AD in the top 10 in the report, ADBA’s chief executive, Charlotte Morton, commented: “Anaerobic digestion, as one of the few circular economy technologies already functioning, will be a vital recycling and renewable energy technology to underpin the cities of the future.
“As the UK population continues to rise, economic growth can only be sustainable if we better manage our resources, cut carbon emissions and invest in our ageing infrastructure. AD offers closed-loop recycling for the essential nutrients in our food waste, baseload renewable energy, and ultra-low carbon transport fuel that dramatically improves air quality. As it evolves, our industry also has the potential to deliver new high-value products such as biochemicals and bioplastics.
“Future urban design will require planners to balance the need to minimise waste while maximising energy and nutrient recovery, against severe space limitations. Efficient, high quality recycling services will therefore be vital.”