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Anaerobic digester funded by North East firms

Two North East based firms which specialise in farming, waste and recycling have secured £8m in funding for an anaerobic digestion facility that will be used to power electricity to power hundreds of homes.

Emerald Biogas has been granted planning permission for the facility which will be based on a 20-acre site in County Durham. The facility will be capable of producing 1.4MW of electricity per annum from food and farm waste. By August 2013, it is hoped that the digester will be fully operational.

The companies behind the project both have successful track records in the farming, waste and recycling industries.

Antony and Adam Warren run by-product, food waste collection and recycling business John Warren in Bishop Auckland while Ian Bainbridge owns Agricore, a diverse farming, land management and plasterboard recycling business.

They decided to work together on the anaerobic digestion facility when they realised that the project would complement their existing businesses.

Company director Antony Warren said: “John Warren is in quite a niche position because it’s the only food waste collection service in the North East. There is no other commercial food waste processor in the region and so we have to transport all the waste outside the region, which is very time-consuming and costly.

“Ian brings with him the benefit of his land and crops which will also be fed into the digester, and the energy created will be sold to the National Grid.

“We’ve already started on site and all the groundworks are in place. We just needed to wait for all the funding to finally come together from various partners before we start back on site in the next month.”

“If all goes well we’ll be looking to build more digesters in the future,” he said. “There’s plenty of food waste in the region so this is definitely a viable business model.

“The scheme will create supporting jobs as opposed to direct employment through the farming industry and the collection of waste.”

They were advised about financing the project by Newcastle accountants UNW and lawyers from Newcastle-based firm Ward Hadaway.

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