Thursday, 21 October 2021

Opening of £10m plant that turns waste into renewable energy

A £10 MILLION waste plant near Benson was officially opened on Friday.

A £10 MILLION waste plant near Benson was officially opened on Friday.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by Lord de Mauley, parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The anaerobic digestion plant in Benson Lane began commissioning waste in January and is currently running at about 75 per cent capacity.

It is able to process up to 45,000 tonnes of waste a year and create enough electrity to power 4,000 households and bio-fertilizer for 2,500 acres of local farm land.

Oxfordshire County Council has a 20-year waste contract with the operator Agrivert.

Lord de Mauley said: “Turning what was once automatically sent to landfill into renewable energy not only makes environment sense, it makes business sense too.

“The waste and recycling sector represents a huge opportunity for UK businesses and will help grow our economy.”

Alexander Maddan, chief executive of Agrivert, said: “The plant will help increase national recycling rates and reduce the volume of material going to landfill while reducing the financial burden on the taxpayer.

“The plant will give the local economy and the agricultural sector a valuable boost during a difficult economic period.” Guests at the opening ceremony included South Oxfordshire District Councillor David Dodds, who is responsible for waste, and Benson parish councillor Patricia Bayliss.

About 120 tonnes of waste are delivered to the plant each day. This waste is decontaminated and processed into a thick soup.

It is then pumped into digesters, where bacteria breaks down the organic material in the absence of oxygen to produce methane.

This is captured, cleaned and then fed into a gas engine which powers a generator to produce electricity which is fed into the National Grid.

Excess heat is used to power the pasteurisers which the fertilizers pass through before leaving the plant.

There is also a composting facility at the site.

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