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Driffield waste plants turns food into electricity

GWE Biogas plant
Image caption It is hoped that plant will generate enough electricity for 3,000 homes

A new power plant in East Yorkshire has started turning waste food into electricity and fertiliser.

The GWE Biogas plant in Driffield will use gas, produced from waste food, to generate electricity, rather than it going to a landfill site.

The remaining decomposed food will then be used to produce bio-fertiliser for farmland.

It is hoped the anaerobic digestion plant will generate enough electricity to power more than 3,000 homes.

Tom Megginson, one of two farmers to come up with the idea, said: "The market for food waste has been incomplete without places like this to bring that food waste once it's collected.

Odour molecules

"We need local authorities and businesses across the country to start to look at what they do with food waste, to bring it together and bring that food to plants like this and turn it into renewable energy."

Mr Megginson said part of the £10m investment included a large bio-filter to ensure the area did not smell.

He said air vents were being used to filter fresh air into the plant through heather, causing bacteria to grow and eat odour molecules.

Andy Hartley from Leeds-based CO2Sense, which has partly funded the project, said: "It's really significant. It's arguably the best designed plant in the country but it's one of only a handful."

Mr Hartley said that while it was unusual in England such sites were more common across Europe.

The new plant will be able to utilise supermarket and house-hold food waste which is out of date or damaged.

The process includes removing food packaging for recycling before the food is put through a mixing tank to produce the gas for electricity. The remaining decomposed food can then be used as bio-fertiliser.

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