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News - November 2014

by Tom Goulding www.letsrecycle.com

WILLEN BIOGAS OPENS NORTH LONDON COMPOSTING FACILITY

VIDEO REPORT: An open windrow composting facility that will treat some 25,000 tonnes of green waste each year from businesses in and around London has officially opened in Enfield

The Willen Biogas green waste facility, based at Cattlegate Farm on the border with Hertfordshire, was made possible by £7.5 million in funding from the Green Investment Bank

Jeremy Jacobs, technical director of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), was on hand to cut the ribbon at the site yesterday (November 3), alongside Adrian Williams, managing director of the company.

Composting

The facility builds on a smaller 5,000 tonnes-per-year capacity composting site that already receives some commercial green waste from London, which produces compost to help break down heavy clays and encourage plant growth at the farm.

With the larger concrete pad now completed, the firm will develop its pre-existing customer base, shredding the material down to a large particle size of an estimated 180-220mm.

Meanwhile, rainwater and run-off will be harvested and reapplied to the windrows via an irrigation system, allowing them to maintain an optimum level of moisture content. And, a new compost management system has been fitted to monitor temperature, oxygen levels and any odour issues – which the company is keen to eliminate.

AD plant

Adrian Williams and partners celebrate the opening of the open windrow facility

The Willen project also includes an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant located at an adjacent site on the Farm, which will treat around 27,000 tonnes of commercially-sourced food waste from the capital when it begins operations in late 2015.

Adrian Williams and partners celebrate the opening of the open windrow facility

The plant will feature a reception area, as well as a pre-treatment facility that sorts plastic residues from the organic waste when it arrives on-site. The facility will generate 1.5MW of electricity to the National Grid, enough to power around 1,750 households.

Together, the facilities will also produce a biofertiliser that will be spread across the 2,000 acres of farmland at Cattlegate, saving an estimated £120,000 on the import of mineral fertiliser.

The company is currently owned by investment partners Foresight Environmental Fund and the UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments fund.

Foresight Group LLP is a major partner in the project, which co-manages the funds with owned Cattlegate Farm family owners Adrian Williams, Howard Williams, Brian Williams and Mark Lennon.

Other partners include biogas specialist Xergi which has helped design the AD facility, Oakwood Plant Group, Land Network International and London-based recycling company Powerday.

Ownership

Adrian Williams, managing director of Willen Biogas, told letsrecycle.com that the family would receive total ownership of the project in ‘time to come’.

It’s so good to see people spending money and investing in a project. In 20 years you don’t see many composting sites being opened, certainly with the level of investment that has been put in here

Jeremy Jacobs

REA technical director

He said: “I think it is very fortuitous that we are opening now and we are looking forward to the success of this very good facility which is so close to the centre of London.”

He added: “We are well placed in a very competitive market, and London has a rapidly increasing population. We didn’t really factor municipal waste in but that’s a significant overall market, and as our business develops that’s another avenue we could possibly go down.”

Opening the facility, Mr Jacobs said: “To have a sustainable project like this is doing the job right. It’s so good to see people spending money and investing in a project. In 20 years you don’t see many composting sites being opened, certainly with the level of investment that has been put in here.”

www.letsrecycle.com