Worthing Borough Council cabinet members are asked to consider looking at a ‘Waste to Energy’ for the area at tonight’s Joint Strategic Committee (Tuesday June 24th).
The Joint Strategic Committee is a joint meeting of the Worthing Borough Council and Adur District Council cabinets and the idea is presented to them in a report by the Chief Financial Officer.
The report outlines the requirement for a feasibility study into an investment opportunity to develop an Anaerobic Digester for the generation of renewable heat and power.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a natural process where plant and animal materials (biomass) are broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of air. In these conditions, methane-rich gas (biogas) is produced, which can be combusted to provide heat, electricity or both.
Alternatively, the biogas can be ‘upgraded’ to pure methane, often called biomethane, by removing other gases. This pure stream of biomethane can then be injected it into the mains gas grid or used as a road fuel.
Digestate is made from left over indigestible material and dead micro-organisms. It contains valuable plant nutrients like nitrogen and potassium and can be used as a fertiliser and soil conditioner.
The Council does not have sufficient in-house expertise to progress this project and a specialist feasibility study is required. The report concludes provided that: an acceptable site can be found; a stable and affordable fuel source can be established; and the government subsidies can be secured; this does present an opportunity to both deliver a financial gain to the Councils and potentially protect the Councils against future increases in electricity costs.
The Strategic Waste Allocations Development Plan Document issued by West Sussex County Council in 2007 did identify Decoy Farm in East Worthing as a suitable site for such a facility but the final plan does not have the site confirmed.
The Join Strategic Committee is asked to consider whether they wish to pursue the proposal further and find an in depth feasibility study costing around £ 20,000 – £12,000 for Worthing and £8,000 for Adur.