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ReFood opens first Gas-to-Grid AD plant in Widnes

Wednesday 18th June 2014 saw the official opening of the ReFood latest anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Widnes.  The plant is the largest gas-to-grid AD plant and the second plant for the ReFood brand.
The opening ceremony was attended by a variety of local and industry stakeholders, alongside Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of Rethmann Group, the parent company of ReFood, who officially opened the plant by unveiling a plaque and tipping the first bin.
ReFood Widnes will recycle 90,000 tonnes of commercial and domestic food waste and will generate up to 17NWhs of biogas which will be transported directly to the national gas grid where it will provide enough power for 8,000 homes.
The move to gas-to-grid is a new development for ReFood and demonstrates the company’s commitment to identifying and embracing new technologies to ensure that food waste is maximised as a energy resource.  The Widnes plant is the first gas-to-grid AD plant in ReFood’s European portfolio of 11 plants, which together provide enough power for 46,000 homes.
ReFood Widnes offers integrated food waste collection and recycling services for businesses in a 50 mile radius including hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, local authorities and retailers.  The unique element to the ReFood offering is its sanitised bin swap services, which sees a full bin swapped for a clean one.  As a result, businesses don’t have to clean their own bins and the sanitised ReFood bin can be used in a kitchen environment, enabling food waste to be separated at source.
Andy Smith, CEO of ReFood, comments: “I’m delighted to add ReFood Widnes to our portfolio of food waste recycling technologies.  As our first gas-to-grid AD plant it will operate as a showcase plant for both the ReFood brand and also the AD industry as a whole in both the UK and Europe.  Food waste offers such important potential as a resource, that we must maximise this through the use of new innovative technologies.
“Since our first ReFood plant opened in Doncaster in 2011, we have seen a positive uptake of a service that is simple and easy to use.  AD lends itself perfectly to a localised model due to the transportation of both the food waste and the fertiliser by-product and with the North West an important hub for both food production and distribution, Widnes is the perfect location alongside our existing food chain by-product processing facilities.
The new plant has provided 35 jobs for the local area across sales, administration, transportation and operations.
ReFood continues to expand, with ReFood Dagenham, a further £20m investment, due to begin construction soon and be operational in late 2015.  Located in the London Sustainable Industries Park, this plant will recycle 160,000 tonnes of food waste and produce 22.7 MWh of electricity direct to grid.

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