Certification scheme launched to improve anaerobic digestion performance

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AD Certification Scheme launched
Anaerobic digestion facility for food waste Photo: Agrivert

The UK trade body for the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has launched a pioneering certification scheme to help improve performance and safety.

AD is becoming a standard part of treating, recycling and creating energy from agricultural, food industry, municipal and sewage treatment waste. The number of plants has exploded in recent years with incentives to generate renewable energy, and a comprehensive scheme was needed to encourage safe, clean and efficient operational practice.

Developed with a wide range of industry stakeholders, the pioneering AD Certification Scheme was launched by the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) on 7th December 2017 at its National Conference in Westminster, London.

AD Certification Scheme launched
ADBA’s Environment & Regulation Manager Jess Allan launches the AD Certification Scheme at the ADBA National Conference

The voluntary, industry-led scheme is designed to support operators of AD plants to improve their operational, environmental, and health and safety performance, in particular in terms of energy generation and digestate quality.

The scheme was piloted earlier this year at an on-farm plant, a food waste plant, and an on-site plant for a food manufacturer. It includes detailed assessment criteria that will allow third-party certification bodies to verify the achievement of good practice at AD plants, and is the most comprehensive of its type. The ADBA certification scheme also reflects existing ISO standards, facilitating integration with existing standards and schemes.

New AD certification scheme
ADBA has launched a new Certification Scheme for the anaerobic digestion industry

Launching the certification scheme, ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton said:

“A certification process is essential to ensuring that regulators, insurers and investors have confidence in the scheme, which offers AD operators a range of financial and regulatory benefits. Through our existing work with the AD industry, it is clear that operators, engineers, technology suppliers and developers are constantly seeking ways to optimise their performance.

“Through this new scheme, we hope to reflect industry developments, provide information on how plants and suppliers can improve, and help them overcome the key barriers to good performance. We look forward to working with AD operators to support them in building and running their AD plants to high standards.”

Marie Fallon, Director of Regulated Industry at the Environment Agency welcomed the AD Certification Scheme as a positive intervention by the industry to improve performance. She said: “We share the determination in reducing pollution incidents which is a risk to the reputation of the industry. We will continue to work with ADBA to share evidence and information to achieving that goal.”

Rick Brunt, Head of Vulnerable Workers, Agriculture, Waste and Recycling Unit at the Health & Safety Executive, added: “ADBA’s AD Certification Scheme clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through the collaboration of a diverse range of organisations spanning operators, insurers and regulators, and has resulted in a scheme that will not only improve health and safety but also environmental and operational performance. I hope that we will see the remainder of the AD industry embracing the scheme with the same level of enthusiasm as those that have worked on its development.”