The GwyriAD anaerobic digestion (AD) plant near Caernarfon, developed and operated by Biogen, has become the first in Wales to achieve certification under REAL’s not-for-profit Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS).
The plant converts food waste into renewable electricity and a co-product called digestate, which Biogen can now refer to as certified biofertiliser.
Farmers are increasingly looking to biofertiliser as a cost effective, environmentally friendly and home-grown alternative to expensive, fossil-based fertilisers imported from overseas.
The plant, which will turn 11,000 tonnes of food waste per year into green electricity for 700 homes, has been developed as part of the Wales Procurement Programme. This programme was set up by the Welsh Government with the aim of developing a network of AD plants across Wales, strategically sited to make it easier for local authorities to recycle their food waste. The BCS and WRAP Cymru provided technical and commercial expertise to the programme.
Ciaran Burns, REAL – “Working together, the Welsh Government, WRAP Cymru and Biogen have delivered a plant which ideally meets the needs of the local authority whilst deriving maximum economic and environmental benefit from the food waste inputs”
Ciaran Burns, certification manager at REAL, said: “This project is an exemplar for the industry. Working together, the Welsh Government, WRAP Cymru and Biogen have delivered a plant which ideally meets the needs of the local authority whilst deriving maximum economic and environmental benefit from the food waste inputs. This project sets the standard for others in Wales to follow”.
Ruta Dauksaite, organics project manager at WRAP Cymru, said: “It’s great to have the first Biofertiliser certification awarded in Wales. The AD sector is an important business area for Wales, and by achieving certification it means producers can verify that the material is a safe and quality product that is fit for purpose.”
Julian O’Neill, CEO at Biogen, said: “The fact that the biofertiliser produced by our plants can now be defined as a product rather than a waste can only help boost confidence in our AD process with our partners in the farming community.”
BCS certification demonstrates compliance with the PAS 110 specification and the AD Quality Protocol.
This benefits local authorities, as it enables them to count food waste AD towards their recycling targets; it also benefits AD operators, as it enables them to get a better deal in the market for the digestate they produce; and finally it benefits farmers, as it guarantees that the digestate they are using is both safe (meaning no waste handling permits or controls are required) and high quality (helping them meet the demanding requirements of food assurance schemes).
The GwyriAD plant is the 18 AD plant in the UK to achieve BCS certification. A full list of certified biofertiliser producers is available on the BCS website: www.biofertiliser.org.uk/members