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New food waste recycling project gets underway

New food waste recycling project gets underway

Work is set to start in the New Year on the construction of a food waste plant in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which will create green energy for 1,500 homes.

Partner councils Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport City have worked together on the Tomorrow’s Valley project to find the most suitable and affordable solution to manage food waste in a sustainable way.

The three councils completed this major waste treatment project by announcing that Biogen (UK) Ltd will operate the new food waste-to-energy plant at Bryn Pica, Aberdare. Preparatory work at the site began this month and construction work is set to start in January 2014.

The new anaerobic digestion facility has the capacity to convert 22,500 tonnes of food waste into green electricity. Based on current food waste recycling rates across the three councils involved, this could result in a further one megawatt of green electricity being generated, powering an additional 1,500 homes. Bedford-based Biogen has carried out the design and implementation of the new process.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Cabinet Member for Frontline Services, Councillor Andrew Morgan, said: "We are pleased that the food waste project will get underway in earnest in the New Year. The success of this partnership proves our continued commitment to working towards a more sustainable and environmentally-focused future, through innovative and efficient waste, recycling and re-use practices."

The scheme, which uses the Welsh Government’s favoured treatment process for dealing with food waste, was supported by the Welsh Government’s Regional Capital Access Fund. Two of the local authorities currently send their food waste to anaerobic digestion facility in England the other uses a composting facility in South East Wales.

Biogen’s Chief Executive, Richard Barker, said: "We are delighted to be finally kicking off this project with the Tomorrow’s Valley Hub. This is a great investment into the area. Not only will it bring state-of-the-art technology to transform food waste into renewable energy and a nutritious biofertiliser, but it will also bring much-needed employment into the area. This is our third such project in Wales, and we look forward to working with the Welsh Government and the local authorities to drive forward its waste and renewables agenda."

Biogen (UK) Ltd was named preferred bidder for the Tomorrow’s Valley project in December 2012. Biogen is the leading British anaerobic digestion company with a proven track record in designing, building and operating large-scale anaerobic digestion plants. The new facility will be the company’s third food waste-to-energy plant in Wales.

One million tonnes of waste is already being used to generate 1.8 megawatts of green electricity at the Council’s Bryn Pica site in Llwydcoed, Aberdare. The electricity, which is being fed into the national grid, provides sufficient energy to power all the households in Llwydcoed, Church Village and Tonypandy.

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