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Turning Food Waste Into Valuable Power!

02/01/19


Bowman heat exchangers play a vital role in the success of ‘zero waste’ recycling centre.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) has revolutionised the way that food waste is processed commercially. No longer is it lost to landfill, as specialist recycling companies now convert it to energy for homes and businesses.

One such company is Biogen, a specialist food recycling organisation which operates recycling centres in the UK. Its Merevale recycling centre, near Atherstone, Warwickshire,processes 45,000 tons of food waste per year.

Over 110 tons of food waste is delivered to the centre every day, where it is bulk loaded into a ‘de-packaging ’line, to separate the food waste from associated packaging. The food waste then travels through a series of processing operations, to ensure it is the right consistency for the AD process.

Biogen have 2 anaerobic digesters at Merevale. Operating at a temperature of 40?C, each complete digestion cycle runs for 40 days, to ensure the maximum energy value is recovered from the waste material. From the waste food slurry, the AD process produces a combustible gas containing Methane CH4 (60%) and CO²(40%), which is used to power the company’s two GE Jenbacher generators.

The electricity produced from the generators is fed into theNational Grid and provides enough power for 4,500 homes.

Waste heat is recovered from the generators cooling system by two Bowman FC160-1426-5 heat exchangers to provide hot water for three primary facilities – building services, including the underfloor heating system, plus personal hygiene facilities; the waste packaging ‘hot wash’ process, to remove any remaining food waste and avoid cross contamination; plus jet washing of all commercial vehicles prior to them leaving the site.

The heat energy recovered via the Bowman units helps the site to operate on an ‘energy neutral’ basis.

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