£20m anaerobic digestion plant completed

Paul Boughton

Building and civil engineering contractor Britcon has completed construction and officially handed over a new £20 million anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Widnes, UK, for food waste recycler ReFood

The plant is the largest gas-to-grid AD plant in the UK and the second plant for the ReFood brand in the UK. It will recycle some 90,000 tonnes of commercial and domestic food waste and will generate up to 17NWhs of biogas which will be transported directly to the national gas grid to provide enough power for 8,000 homes

Britcon was appointed to deliver the project following completion of ReFood’s first AD plant in Doncaster, for which it was also recently appointed to deliver a £1.85 million extension.

Britcon was principal contractor for the entire project where over 1000 international workers were employed over an intensive 18 month build programme.

The project brief included earthworks, piling operations and major structural works comprising multiple high rise, post tensioned, circular, reinforced digester tanks, receiving tanks and gas storage tanks.  

A state-of-the-art Depackaging Building with a deep basement, numerous process structures, extensive external works all on a live site with difficult ground conditions were also part of the contract together with a carbon neutral high spec office complex.

The move to gas-to-grid is a new development for ReFood and demonstrates the company’s commitment to identifying and embracing new technologies to ensure that food waste is maximised as an energy resource. The Widnes plant is the first gas-to-grid AD plant in ReFood’s European portfolio of 11 plants, which together provide enough power for 46,000 homes.

ReFood Widnes offers integrated food waste collection and recycling services for businesses in a 50 mile radius including hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, local authorities and retailers.  The unique element to the ReFood offering is its sanitised bin swap services, which sees a full bin swapped for a clean one.  As a result, businesses do not have to clean their own bins and the sanitised ReFood bin can be used in a kitchen environment, enabling food waste to be separated at source