First AD plant achieves digestate certification

Date Published: 21/03/2011

An AD plant in Devon has become the first site in the UK to be granted a certificate allowing it to classify digestate output as a sustainable fertiliser rather than a waste product.

AnDigestion Ltd’s biogas plant, at Holsworthy, has secured the honour of being the first site approved under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme, operated by Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL).

The Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) was launched in 2010 and gives AD plant operators the ability to classify digestate from their processes as a good source of fertiliser for farmers, rather than a waste attracting disposal licence costs.

The BCS is built upon a new industry standard, the PAS 110 and Quality Digestate Protocol. This first certificate has been issued by Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd, one of two UK bodies providing inspection and certification for the scheme under licence from REAL.

AnDigestion’s Holsworthy site is one of several plants around the country to have signed up for the scheme, with others closing in on achieving their own certification.

Richard Jacobs, Chief Executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, explained: “Along with biogas, digestate is an important output of an AD plant, providing a good source of sustainable agricultural fertiliser. The BCS provides a route for operators to assure the value and quality of that output and is increasingly likely to form a part of the requirements of local authorities and other waste-handling bodies as they rely more on AD as a productive way of managing waste. It is a credit to AnDigestion that, with this achievement, the company is leading the way on applying the highest of standards.”

David Collins, Head of Biofertiliser Certification Scheme at REAL, said: “We warmly congratulate AnDigestion on achieving certification; this presents a major milestone in the development of standards for the use of digestate. The Renewable Energy Association and REAL have been at the heart of the development of standards for digestate since 2007, writing a standard for Scotland which was later used as a foundation for the development of the current PAS110 and ADQP in conjunction with Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Association for Organics Re-cycling (AfOR). We expect the new standard to enhance the value of digestate as a replacement for fossil fuel hungry mineral fertilisers, as a soil improver and to improve the management of farm slurries and manures.”

The annual production of fertiliser from the AnDigestion Holsworthy plant is over 60,000 tonnes per year, together with an electrical capacity of 3.9MW.

Organic Farmers & Growers has been providing certification services for almost 20 years and is one of the UK’s leading government and EU approved organic control bodies. In addition to the BCS and PAS 110, OF&G also certifies composting to the Quality Compost Protocol and PAS 100.