Severn Trent Water Buy Food Waste Recycling Firm
The water company, Severn Trent has bought the food waste recycling company Agrivert UK as part of a £120 million deal. Agrivert UK produces energy from food waste and it has ten facilities in the South West; five for anaerobic digestion and five for waste composting.
Severn Trent bought it as part of its Green Power business. It already owns two anaerobic digestion plants in Coleshill and Roundhill in Birmingham.
Another plant is being built in Derby and it is expected to be ready for business by the end of the financial year.
Severn Trent’s Chief Executive said that renewable energy is of strategic importance to them and to the country as a whole. He added that the company was working towards lowering its carbon emissions and increasing their prowess in the realm of anaerobic digestion.
So what is anaerobic digestion?
Anaerobic digestion is a process where organic matter like animal or food waste is broken down and biogas and biofertiliser is produced. The process occurs in the absence of oxygen (this is why it’s called anaerobic; anaerobic means ‘in the absence of oxygen’) in a sealed tank known as an anaerobic digester.
The biogas that is created in the sealed tanks is used as fuel to generate renewable energy, namely electricity and heat. The materials that are left after the process are pasteurised to kill any harmful pathogens, then they are stored in tanks. This material is actually a nutrient rich fertiliser which is applied to farmland twice per year, as a sustainable alternative to fertilisers made from fossil fuels.
Anaerobic digestion is recognised by the UK government, Defra, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, Friends of the Earth and the National Farmers Union as one of the most effective ways to recycle food waste and deal with waste from farms and sewage sludge.
Every tonne of food waste that is recycled by anaerobic digestion instead of being sent to landfill prevents around 0.5- 1.0 tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.