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Green light for AD trials – and no permit needed

 

Vital research into innovative new waste treatment processes at the Anaerobic Digestion Development Centre (ADDC) in Teesside has been given the green light by the Environment Agency – and without the need for a full environmental permit. Engineering and environmental consultancy Wardell Armstrong helped to secure permission to proceed with pioneering waste trials at the centre.

The first dedicated facility of its kind in the UK, the ADDC has been developed by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Anaerobic Energy Limited at the Wilton Centre in Teesside for the purposes of research and development of the AD process.

While small scale trial projects have suffered in the past from the expensive application fees and regulatory demands needed for full environmental permits, a recent position statement from the Environment Agency on regulating trials of waste management operations now allows them to proceed for an agreed period without an environmental permit as long as they meet a strict set of criteria.

Wardell Armstrong and CPI prepared detailed management plans and programmes to prove the innovative nature and benefits of the waste trials that will be undertaken at the site, as well as the strict controls in place to prevent harm to human health and protect the environment. The work paid off, with a regulatory position statement issued by the Environment Agency allowing the ADDC to proceed with its critical research for the first twelve months of operation without costly application fees and the risk of delays.

The ADDCaims to enhance AD knowledge and innovation with the ability to assess a wide range of waste to energy processes in single or mixed streams. It uses pre-treatment, digestion and post-treatment technologies that are rapidly reconfigurable to allow the development of novel and improved AD processes – exploring cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to traditional waste disposal and enabling organisations of all sizes to develop tailored ways of solving organic waste problems more quickly and cost-effectively.

The waste trials at the ADDC will test new technologies and processes including reducing the size and cost of facilities, increasing the yield of biogas and digestate, enhancing digestate quality as a fertiliser, improving effluent water quality, developing purification and monitoring processes for the injection of biogas into the gas grid, and supporting the development of novel AD technologies.

“By working closely with CPI, we’ve been able to demonstrate clearly that the ADDC facility will be operated for the purposes of research and development and waste trials,” said Stephen Barnes, an associate director at Wardell Armstrong and a specialist in environmental permitting. “The site will only accept about 100 tonnes of waste per year, and the Environment Agency has taken a pragmatic and helpful approach by agreeing a regulatory position statement for the first twelve months of the site’s operation. This has helped to reduce costs and ensure that this important work will go ahead to promote anaerobic digestion and the sustainable use of waste to produce biogas for energy production and digestate for use as a fertiliser.”