The project aims to create the North West's first commercially operated anaerobic digester. Rural Futures undertook the initial technology selection, site assessment, feasibility study and waste catchment analysis. Rural Futures also undertook the initial screening assessment and subsequent planning submission to the waste planning authority. Planning was successfully delivered in May 2009.
The project will use waste streams from food manufacturing, supermarkets and the meat processing industry and the plant will convert 40,000 tonnes pa of waste into renewable heat and power.
The plant will be located at the Hillhouse industrial complex, Thornton in Cleveleys. The technology segregates all forms of packaging from the organic fraction. Cans, glass, plastics, stone and other metals are separated from the waste stream and recycled. Paper, cardboard and even wood is processed through the system along with the extracted organic material.
Meat waste can be used as input material as the plant also incorporates full pasteurisation capability compliant with the Animal By Products Regulations (ABPR). Under these regulations the system can accommodate all Category 3 and the majority of Category 2 meat waste.
Following pre processing and pasteurisation the organic material passes through a continuous batch anaerobic digestion process lasting up to twenty days. The digestion process is continually monitored to ensure the maximum production of biogas. The biogas is cleaned and burned through CHP engines to generate renewable heat and power.
The remaining digestate is dewatered and sampled to ensure it meets the stringent PAS 110 Protocol. This ensures all potential contaminants and pathogens have been neutralised. The resulting digestate provides a nutrient rich organic compound that makes for an ideal soil conditioner and fertiliser.