Anaerobic digestion (AD) produces green energy, so it’s popular when discussing how to combat climate change. Its ability to strengthen and support local communities, however, is often overlooked. Here are five ways AD can help your local community.

  1. Supplying you and your community with power

Anaerobic digestion (AD) provides renewable power to local houses and businesses through the existing National Grid network. Our digesters create green gas that is pumped directly into the network, or converted into electricity for the local grid. It provides a constant and regular supply and is not dependant on wind or sunshine. In Exeter and East Devon alone, our Gorst Energy plant powers over 2,380 homes with green gas each year. AD is a sustainable way to provide renewable energy, powering local communities without importing fossil fuels or transporting energy cross-country.

  1. Providing jobs for local people

The AD sector provides jobs at facilities like ours and supports jobs within local communities. Every AD plant has a skilled operations and maintenance team to ensure the facility runs efficiently. Outside of our facilities, AD supports local farms and agriculture by buying organic waste to be used as feedstock. These farmers are paid fair and guaranteed price which protects them from the fluctuations in the commodity markets. In turn this gives them the certainty to invest in their land and staff.

  1. Educating all ages about climate change

AD facilities provide educational opportunities for all age groups. Partnerships with local communities and education providers generate a platform to inspire future innovation, and an interest in sustainability and tackling climate change. Our facilities host tours for local school children to help educate the next generation. We are also working with a local university to explore how our facilities can be used for several cutting-edge technology studies that will be vital in the fight against climate change. We believe educating students on the importance of carbon capture and reducing greenhouse emissions will ensure a new generation of environmentally-conscious individuals.

  1. Providing local farmers with sustainable fertiliser

One output of our AD facilities is a product called ‘digestate’. Digestate is a nutrient-dense material that can be used as high-quality, organic fertiliser. This material is highly valued by our feedstock suppliers and other organisations that we supply. It replaces fossil fuel-derived artificial fertiliser, which drives down the UK’s agricultural carbon footprint. For the farmers who provide feedstock to the AD plant, the return of digestate helps create a fully circular economy. Our fertiliser has significantly helped feedstock providers generate more bountiful crops. We even have some local green thumbs visiting our sites and taking digestate for their own vegetable patches!

  1. Investing in the local economy

Our AD plants invest heavily in the local economy. Typically, our renewable gas AD facilities will invest between £3-£5m per annum into the economy around the facility. Most of this  is spent on feedstock for the plant which goes towards local agriculture and farming. Our staff are all from the community around our facilities and, where possible, we purchase services from local suppliers and tradespeople. In fact, we partner with local service providers ranging from lawyers and accountants to parts suppliers, electricians, security, IT, cleaners and many others. We believe this creates a strong circular economy within your local community.