To the moon and back (12 times) with food waste

01 February 2022

Scotland’s first-ever large-scale food waste recycling facility is celebrating a milestone green energy achievement.

Scottish Water Horizons’ Deerdykes Bioresources Centre near Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire has generated 50 GWh of green electricity – the equivalent of powering 13,500 homes for a year – since it opened in 2010.

The facility harnesses gas from food waste using anaerobic digestion to generate green energy using a combined heat and power engine (CHP).

Food waste is broken down in sealed, oxygen-depleted tanks to produce an energy-rich biogas. This is then converted into electricity through the CHP engines as well as a natural fertiliser for use in agricultural land spreading.

Colin Lindsay, Operations Manager at Scottish Water Horizons said: “The numbers are impressive but quite difficult to visualise – particularly if you try to imagine 500 million kettles being boiled at once.

“Since we started processing food waste and converting it to electricity, we have saved more than 170,000 tonnes of carbon. That’s the equivalent to driving over six million miles in a car – or to the moon and back 12 times.

“There is also the added bonus of diverting huge amounts of food waste from landfill where it would break down to produce methane– a dangerous greenhouse gas.”

Around a million tonnes of food is thrown away in Scotland each year. A number of local authorities across west central Scotland transport waste to Deerdykes along with waste from many food producers and businesses.

Navigating to Net Zero

Scottish Water Horizon is a commercial subsidiary of Scottish Water and plays an important part in helping the company meet its Net Zero ambitions by maximising opportunities for green energy production on Scottish Water sites.

Scottish Water was a proud participant at the recent COP 26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow.

As Scotland’s public water and waste water provider, protecting and enhancing the environment is a priority. Scottish Water has already committed to work towards being Net Zero by 2040 – five years ahead of Scotland’s national targets.

As well as transforming the delivery of key services, Scottish Water works with a wide range of partners to contribute towards wider carbon reductions.

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