University of Southampton could turn food waste into renewable energy

Daily Echo: An anaerobic digestor An anaerobic digestor

IT is a project that aims to unlock the key to turning food waste into renewable energy.

The University of Southampton will play a leading role in an £18million project that aims to put Britain at the forefront of this technology.

Researchers will explore ways of using leftover food plus natural materials such as plants, algae, fungi and micro-organisms to create energy.

Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the study will see the brightest minds from universities across England link up with industry experts to discover how to make use of advances in biotechnology.

The University of Southampton will work with the University of Warwick to realise the potential of organic waste and its by-products to produce renewable energy sources.

What they discover will be shown to industry experts, which will eventually turn the research into commercial ideas.

Professor Charles Banks, head of water and environmental engineering at the University of Southampton and director of the Anaerobic Digestion Network, says: “Anaerobic digestion is an established technology for waste management and bioenergy production, but could benefit hugely through knowledge transfer from recent exciting advances in industrial biotechnology. Bringing academia and industry together will unblock the route to exploiting these advances, allowing UK business to move to the forefront of international development in anaerobic biotechnology.”

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts explained the importance of the new £18million project.

He said: “To get ahead in the global race, we need to turn our world-beating science and research into world-beating products and services.”

Comments (2)

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3:30pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Roger Munford says...

It is unlikely that this proect will put the UK in the forefront of this technology since there are about 7000 digesters in Germany and about 10 in the UK.
As usual we are decades behind, and prefer to invest in waste incinerators, something Germany gave up on years ago in preference to recycling.
AD combined with recycling is the way to go. However the current fad is incineration which in this country means a contract with a 30 year lock in for a local authority. This makes it impossible to switch to AD for 30 years. Germanys incinerators are being decomissioned at the end of their working lives or converted to coal burning.
Why can't we learn from Germany's experience and go straight to AD and recycling instead of adopting the redundant expensive incineration.
Good luck to the University but it is proven technology. The challenge is to get the government to switch track, not to re invent well established technology.
It is unlikely that this proect will put the UK in the forefront of this technology since there are about 7000 digesters in Germany and about 10 in the UK. As usual we are decades behind, and prefer to invest in waste incinerators, something Germany gave up on years ago in preference to recycling. AD combined with recycling is the way to go. However the current fad is incineration which in this country means a contract with a 30 year lock in for a local authority. This makes it impossible to switch to AD for 30 years. Germanys incinerators are being decomissioned at the end of their working lives or converted to coal burning. Why can't we learn from Germany's experience and go straight to AD and recycling instead of adopting the redundant expensive incineration. Good luck to the University but it is proven technology. The challenge is to get the government to switch track, not to re invent well established technology. Roger Munford
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Roger Munford says...

Anybody interested in this subject would be pleased to know that Basingstoke has an AD sytem which was apparently switched on at the end of last year http://www.tamar-ene
rgy.com/our-business
/site-locations/basi
ngstoke
Anybody interested in this subject would be pleased to know that Basingstoke has an AD sytem which was apparently switched on at the end of last year http://www.tamar-ene rgy.com/our-business /site-locations/basi ngstoke Roger Munford
  • Score: 0

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