Glasgow-based Luddon Construction has won a £15m contract to design and build a biowaste treatment plant for Fife council.
The 30 month contract was initially estimated to be worth £13 million, but Luddon eventually accepted £14,980,463.
The new plant will utilise anaerobic digestion (AD) as a core element of its processing technology and will have the capacity to process a minimum of 43,000 tonnes per annum of source segregated biowaste feedstocks (comprising food waste, garden waste and commercial organic wastes). The plant will also maximise the methane content of the biogas generated by the process for subsequent energy recovery, providing electricity to 1,500 homes. The new facility will be operated by Council staff and will provide facilities for feedstock reception, storage, handling, processing and management (including maturation, refinement and storage prior to export) of the process offtakes, including digestate and biogas/energy. The plant design will meet the technical standard for processing Category 3 materials under the applicable Animal By-Products Regulations in Scotland and will achieve a digestate standard that as a minimum, complies with the quality requirements of BSI PAS:110 Specification for Digestate.
Luddon Construction will carry out the design, construction, commissioning and performance testing of the new biowaste plant. This will include the specialist training of nominated Council staff in AD process operation prior to the takeover of the new facility by the Council. The Contractor will be responsible for the rectification of defects after take over during the contract defects liability period. The Contract also includes options to provide post take over services to Fife Council for plant service and maintenance and specialist technical support.
Biowaste is a term used to describe organic waste – animal or vegetal, that has arisen from households, commerce and the food manufacturing industry – that is putrescible (liable to decay or spoil). It is capable of self-replication and is potentially harmful to other living organisms, such as plants and fish. Biowaste has become a central issue in recent years as it is a significant factor in global warming: as biowaste degrades in the landfill, it produces the greenhouse gas, methane, which is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Key drivers for the sustainable management of biowastes include the EU Landfill Directive. Which binds the United Kingdom to a reduction of biodegradable waste sent to landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2020. There are currently several treatment options available, including: open air windrow composting, anaerobic digestion, in-vessel composting, mechanical biological treatment, incineration, and pyrolysis and gasification.
The United Kingdom produces over 100 million tonnes of biodegradable waste every year (enough to fill approximately 25 Wembley Stadiums), with a great deal of this ending up in landfills.
Tricia Henton, Environment Agency’s Director of Environment Protection, said: “The way in which biowastes are managed and disposed of by industry and local government is changing rapidly – so research and policy frameworks need to react in accordance with this. Local government, central government and the waste industry need a more coherent and integrated approach to managing and disposing of biowastes taking into account local and national government waste strategies and land use.
“We are now at a point whereby we can produce quality biowaste outputs that can be harnessed for green energy and organic fertiliser, or if mismanaged will lead to land and water contamination, odorous emissions and unabated release of greenhouse gases. Segregating the sources of biowaste prior to treatment will ensure quality inputs to a well managed treatment process, which will in turn result in quality outputs.”
Fife has previously made a notable effort to minimise levels of waste – in 2010/11, 48% of waste was recycled, making it one of the best areas in Scotland. The plant is one step further in their attempt to make the UK a greener place: by reducing the amount of biowaste left on landfills, decreasing the amount of methane gas produced and utilising biowaste as a source of renewable energy, they are creating a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.