Policy changes and commercial deployment of innovative sustainable waste resource recovery technologies on national and international scales

The Wales Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion at University of South Wales (USW) has carried out critical research which led to policy changes and the development of new waste treatment infrastructure in the UK, Europe and internationally.

Research led to state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) infrastructure in seven food waste recovery hubs and carbon footprint savings of 660 kt CO2e/year, leading to Wales becoming the third country in the world with the highest municipal recycling rates.

The UK deployed 683 AD plants supplying 4.1 TWh of electricity/yr, enough to power 1.3M homes with direct employment of around 10,000 people. UK based AD industry has cut emissions by approximately 5.1 Mt CO2e/yr equivalent to 1% of total UK emissions.  USW research also contributed to 93 AD plants qualifying under the Biofertiliser Certification delivering a saving of £5.4M/year.

Methodologies developed were used by numerous companies to drive sustainability and commercial efficiencies with over 30% improved performances. Research enabled investment in advanced AD facilities of £140M and a reduction of over 85% of sludge transport costs with significant savings expected on flocculants. USW research has also led to an increase of over 400% in deployment of AD plants in Malaysia