Nestle Fawdon Opening Ceremony – Amber RuddAs an advocate of renewable energy and commercial sustainability, I believe that our low carbon future should include decentralised generation of energy where it is required, using natural resources or biomass. Not in large scale plants that seek to replicate the current system of power generation but with systems like on-site anaerobic digestion of residues from farms, factories and rural communities.
Like many other industry sectors, the food and beverage industry is being encouraged to reduce its environmental impact. On-site renewable energy should be part of the solution. Food multinational Nestle and leading distiller Diageo have invested in on-site digestion to convert production residues into energy used on site. On-site AD can offer an attractive payback (typically less than 5 years) and improve resource utilisation.
More companies might like to generate value from their process residues instead of discarding them or discharging them to sewer. Replacing outdated energy intensive treatment of residues with digestion would have a significant impact on the sustainability of our food supply chain. Also, generating energy close to where it is required is a departure from the current grid based system.
Clearfleau is helping food companies convert residues into energy, generating value from resources that are currently being discarded with no real value. We are deploying an established technology in a novel way. However, this needs a supportive regulatory and incentive regime to boost investment.
Currently the aspirations of the British renewables industry are being undermined by inconsistent policies and a lack of understanding of the role that on-site generation can play in our decentralised low carbon future. Hopefully the next Government will promote decentralised energy generation.