Food companies honoured at first ever global biogas awards

Biogas projects turning food waste into renewable energy and valuable biofertiliser were honoured at the first ever global AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2016 ceremony, held here in the UK at Birmingham’s Vox Conference Centre.

Taking place on Wednesday 6 July – the first night of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association’s (ADBA) global trade show, UK AD & Biogas 2016 – over 400 industry leaders came together as AD innovation and excellence was honoured across 17 categories, covering the food manufacturing sector as well as others including hospitality, farming and wastewater.

Malted ingredients company Muntons were declared ‘Best food & drink industry AD project’, for their 499 kW AD plant which turns liquid waste into renewable energy for use on-site and digestate for its network of local growers. The judges praised the project’s commercial logic and technical and operational implementation, and were impressed by the fact that the AD plant has helped to cut 3,000 tanker movements per year and generates £650,000 per annum. Clearfleau were highly commended in the same category for the Lake District Biogas plant, at First Milk’s Aspatria creamery. The plant converts cheese residues into renewable energy and removes 95% of chemical oxygen demand (COD), making First Milk’s cheese production more sustainable.

Meanwhile, food waste AD plant operator Agrivert won two awards – ‘AD team of the year’ and ‘Best food waste AD plant’. The company was commended for its best in class operational performance, which sets an example for others to follow. Agrivert currently operates three AD plants, which are the top performing food waste plants in the UK – each facility achieving over 96% efficiency over the past year, compared with an industry average of 71%. And SWR and Edinburgh Airport were honoured in the ‘Best food waste collection system’ category for demonstrating the key traits that innovative food waste collection systems will need to develop, in order to advance the UK’s national agenda.

Overseas projects were also recognised at the awards ceremony, which was hosted by Charlotte Smith of BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today. Turkey’s Altaca Energy triumphed in two categories – ‘Making the most of digestate’ and ‘Best international commercial plant’ – for creating three separate fertiliser products from their digestate. The judges commented: “Despite using very difficult inputs, including 50% poultry manure and feedstocks high in lignin, they have converted them into three much needed products (including humic and fulvic fertilisers), creating greatly upgraded fertiliser which can compete with manufactured fertiliser at a massive scale”. An elated Jim Kingston, Commercial Director for Altaca Group said: "Our Altaca Energy team are really thrilled at receiving these 2 Awards, they are recognition of all the work that our people have put into the Project over the past few years. I hope that suppliers of equipment and materials understand, as a result, the tremendous potential of Turkey for development of AD & Biogas."

Praise was given to other international companies including Australia’s Richgro AD plant which was highly commended in the ‘Best international commercial plant’ category, as well as Denmark’s Xergi which won ‘Best international agricultural plant’ for its project that demonstrates the use of livestock litter to address Danish government restrictions on crop feedstocks.

Judge Amaya Arias Garcia, Technical Director, GOALS PME praised the industry and winners: “The awards showed the positive attitude of the AD industry. People are here for the right reasons – the award winners highlight the best of the AD industry, people who are here to make a difference in the world, and who are going to continue to fight for the industry.”

The well-deserved winner of AD Hero of the Year, Les Gornall from CAPITA-PROjEN, was taken aback as he picked up his accolade: “It’s an enormous privilege to be recognised by my peers, and very humbling. I hope that all these awards are really taken to heart by people who are making a difference in the industry.”

ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented: “Anaerobic digestion/biogas is at the heart of the circular economy helping to solve some of the biggest problems facing communities across the world: delivering energy and food security; improving sanitation recycling inedible food, farm and sewage wastes; decarbonising transport; combating aquatic pollution; making soils richer; and reducing global greenhouse emissions. And of course, it’s also helping farmers, food and utility companies to turn their waste streams into a revenue stream – cutting their utility bills, generating income through the sale of energy, reducing their carbon footprint and creating a nutrient rich biofertiliser that can help to restore our depleted soils to grow food for future generations. These awards celebrate those companies at the very top of their game, who are helping to drive the global biogas revolution.”

AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2016 winners:

1 Innovation in sewage treatment through AD – Symbiona SA
2 Best food waste collection system – SWR & Edinburgh Airport
3 Best process optimisation – Pentair Haffmans (Highly commended: Eco Sustainable Solutions with Landia)
4 Making the most of digestate – Altaca Energy (Highly commended: Vogelsang)
5 Making the most of biogas – Edina Group with Guy & Wright Farm (Highly commended: Limejump & Malaby Biogas)
6 AD hero of the year – Les Gornall, CAPITA PROjEN
7 D team of the year – Agrivert (Highly commended: Edina Group; Iona Capital)
8 Best on-farm AD plant – Edina Group with Springvale Farm (Highly commended: Old Court Farm with AD4Energy)
9 Best food waste AD plant – Agrivert
10 Best food & drink industry AD project – Muntons (Highly commended: Clearfleau Ltd)
11 Best AD support (technical) – FM BioEnergy (Highly commended: CAPITA PROjEN)
12 Best AD support (legal/accounting/consulting) – Stephens Scown LLP (Highly commended: Cranfield University)
13 Research Project Award – WRAP
14 Best international agricultural plant – Xergi A/S (Highly commended: Cooperative la Speranza)
15 Best international municipal plant – Host
16 Best international commercial plant – Altaca Energy (Highly commended: Landia, Edina, Biodome Asia and Uniflare with Richgro AD plant; Biotrix Asia Company Ltd)
17 Best international micro-scale plant – Biogest

An esteemed panel judged the AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2016:

Amaya Arias-Garcia, Technical Director, GOALS Project Management & Engineering Support
David Kinnersley, Associate Partner, Renewables & Rural Consultant
James Astor, CEO, Whites Recycling
Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change, NFU
Les Gornall, Bioenergy Process Consultant, CAPITA-PROjEN
Nigel Horan, Senior Technical Advisor, Aqua Enviro
Nina Sweet, Special Adviser, WRAP
Richard Barker, Adviser and Investment Committee Member, Iona Capital
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA (Non-voting Chair)

Further details about the ADBA Best Practice Scheme, including details of the other organisations involved, are available at

Related Articles