Defence Minister extols virtues of anaerobic digestion following military base deal

Tobias Elwood at the Future Biogas facility.
  • Minister Tobias Ellwood calls anaerobic digestion “a truly green and sustainable solution”
  • Norfolk AD plant to supply renewable electricity to nearby RAF Marham military base
  • AD trade body says deal “demonstrates the value of AD in tackling climate change”

Minister for Defence People & Veterans Tobias Ellwood MP has described anaerobic digestion (AD) as “a truly green and sustainable solution” as he launched a new deal that will see a Norfolk military base receive almost all its power from a nearby AD plant.

Future Biogas’s Redstow Renewables AD plant, which converts locally harvested crops such as maize, sugar beet, rye, and potatoes into renewable electricity (in the form of biogas) and natural fertiliser, will meet over 95% of the power needs of nearby RAF Marham. The base will be the first in the UK to run almost entirely on green electricity.

The AD plant will generate 4.5 megavolt amperes of electricity every day, enough to power 350,000 LED bulbs. The deal will save the Ministry of Defence nearly £300,000 every year and reduce its carbon emissions by 14,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The waste residue from the AD process will also be dried and used as fertiliser to help grow local crops.

Mr Ellwood said:

“RAF Marham is leading the way as Britain’s first green military airbase. The biogas fuel is a truly green and sustainable solution, helping us tackle climate change, support the local economy and save taxpayer money.

“I hope that this plant can act as a model and we can see more sustainable energy schemes rolled out across other military bases.”

Philipp Lukas, Managing Director at Future Biogas, said:

“It’s fantastic to see the UK military join the green revolution. If we are to combat the imminent global threat of climate change, everyone, from all walks of life, needs to transition to renewable, sustainable energy as quickly as possible.

“The AD plant in Swaffham now powers a significant local institution. In doing so, it not only helps secure the energy supply of a strategic national asset, but also takes the pressure off the local electrical infrastructure, which has been really struggling to keep up with growing regional demand.”

Jon Harrison, External Affairs Manager at the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, the UK’s trade body for AD, said:

“This pioneering deal demonstrates the enormous value that AD offers in producing home-grown, renewable energy that is increasing the UK’s energy security and helping to tackle climate change.

“It’s great to see yet another minister extolling the many virtues of AD – what we now need from government is long-term support for AD to ensure we see lots more good-news stories like this in the future.”