Organic waste from pigs on a farm in Leicestershire, UK, is helping to power an estimated 700 homes and reduce landfill waste by 18,000 tonnes each year. The pig waste, combined with other food waste, is being used to produce biogas capable of generating the equivalent of around 1.2 MW of electricity. The electricity is being exported onto the local energy grid used to power homes as well as the pig farming facility.
The technology used to convert waste into energy was designed and built by a UK company, PROjEN BioEnergy. Using anaerobic digestion, where natural bacteria are used to treat biodegradable materials, the process has other benefits. Waste and by-products normally destined for landfill and incineration has been avoided. In addition, the process produces a high quality pasteurised fertiliser, which is weed free and rich in nitrogen
Around 96 million tonnes of farm manures are applied to agricultural land each year in the UK, with strict controls. Pasteurisation helps to minimise the risks of food-borne diseases such as listeria and salmonella.