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Plans Announced For Somerset Biogas Plant


Plans have been announced for a massive facility on an industrial estate in Somerset that will take tonnes of waste food and turn it into energy.

Renewable Energy Magazine reports that the construction of the new plant, near Evercreech Junction on the outskirts of the village of Evercreech near Shepton Mallet in Somerset, has been funded by investment firm Macquarie Capital.

The anaerobic digestion facility will turn waste food into natural green gas, and it is expected that it will commence operations and begin feeding the UK’s national gas network by early 2022.

The announcement of the plans follows an agreement by Macquarie Capital to purchase a majority stake in Evercreech Renewable Energy, a greenfield anaerobic digestion development, for an undisclosed sum.

According to Macquarie Capital, the construction of the plant will support the nearby residential population and more than 400 local dairy, brewing and baking manufacturers with a less carbon-intensive waste disposal service.

According to the financing firm, once fully operational, the plant is expected to save 95,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill each year, which is the equivalent to food waste produced by over 400,000 homes in the UK annually.

Anaerobic digestion is a natural process where organic matter is broken down in a vacuum by micro-organisms called methanogens. The process of anaerobic digestion provides a source of renewable energy, as the waste breaks down into biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide).

The biogas produced can be stored before being either refined further into biomethane for vehicle fuel or injection into the gas grid or burned in a combined heat and power engine to produce electricity and heat or burned in a gas boiler to produce heat for local use. 

Patrick Ottersbach, a managing director at Macquarie Capital Principal Finance, said: We have been at the forefront of financing innovative developments in the anaerobic digestion sector since establishing our platform in late 2019. Since then, we have supported Adapt Biogas by providing our expertise and the capital they need to achieve their growth ambitions.

The addition of the Evercreech plant to the platform is a significant step towards realising those ambitions and becoming an important part of a growing sector that is expected to play a critical role in the UKs plans to reach net-zero.”

Evercreech will become part of Macquarie Capitals existing Adapt Biogas portfolio, meaning the investment firm has now doubled its gas-to-grid biomethane capacity.

According to the company, their combined portfolio now has the capacity to produce enough energy to cover the annual gas consumption of more than 5,600 homes in the UK, and well as reducing the 19 million tones of food waste produced in the UK every year.

The Evercreech investment follows Macquarie Capitals 2019 majority acquisition of the company now known as Adapt Biogas - a UK-based provider of operations and maintenance services.

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