Anaerobic digester goes bust over odour problem

The UK's first central anaerobic digestion plant went into administration in late January.

Holsworthy Biogas in Devon converts animal slurry and food waste into biogas - which it burns to provide 2MW of electricity for the grid.

The plant finally opened in late 2002 after a long struggle to get regulatory approval under waste management licensing and animal by-products legislation (ENDS Report 329, pp 7-8 ).

In late January, the company announced that although the plant was operating profitably its income was not sufficient to "upgrade the plant to industrial standards" and to "comply with the necessary legislation." The plant needs a second slurry tank because the odour control system was inadequate.

The company is "almost certain" to continue operation under new ownership and is currently for sale as a going concern - complete with the slogan: "It's good for you and made from poo."

Nevertheless, the news will do little to boost confidence in the biomass sector - which is struggling to develop new plant (see pp 6-7 ).

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