Festival of Ideas Urban AD

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  • Replace me with a description of your project in 50 words or less. Keep it simple, descriptive and interesting. Remember to explain what makes the project innovative. What is your project’s USP?
  • London Rebuilding Society is a community development finance institution (cdfi) and a mutually owned socially enterprise with ambitions to become a community bank. London Rebuilding Society is also an investor in excluded communities, in whole house refurbishments and in green, social and ethical enterprises.  Above our some of our green investments – Green Oil, Proper Oils and Aardvark.  
  • The economics of biogas production are changing and oil and gas prices rise. The case has been made that it is cheaper than incineration and does not producing the toxic gases that come with burning of waste. Saving money by reduction of Gate Fees, Landfill Tax, VAT by diverting food waste from landfill and by reducing costs of transport of waste to out of town locations. This could have other benefits in relation to the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS), Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), Feed-in-Tariffs or a future Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). AD is less costly than incineration and does not result in the environmental harm caused by burning waste.
  • The uptake of AD in the UK has to date been largely focussed on farms, landfill sites and private and commercial operations (e.g. McCains). However, biogas production in developing and European countries is closely linked to providing a range of solutions to waste, carbon emissions and renewable energy in urban settings. For example: 1) India. Since 2004 BIOTECH has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Kerala, Southern India and saved several thousand tonnes per year of CO2 simply by getting rid of waste. Their success is all down to their biogas digester. Designed to be easily installed, it comes in different sizes to process not only home waste but also market and municipal waste. Digestion produces biogas which in turn reduces reliance on more expensive and harder to access LPG. BIOTECH has calculated that the average family can pay back the cost of the digester in three years. They also facilitate the government subsidies which may cover part of the installation costs. By 2009 they had installed 16,000 plants in total. 2) Sweden. The world's first biogas-powered passenger train is taking its first passengers between the Swedish cities of Linkoping and Vastervik. And the biogas comes from the entrails of dead cows. 'Amanda' runs between the Swedish cities of Linkoping and Vastervik. In Linkoping, the 65-strong bus fleet is powered by biogas. Indeed the city boasts that it was the first in the world to try out its buses on methane. The taxis, the rubbish trucks and a number of private cars also fill up at the biogas pump. 3)Lille has developed an innovative plant – unique in Europe – which transforms organic household waste into four million cubic metres of biogas a year, enough to power a fleet of 100 buses. The plant, called the Centre for Organic Recovery , is France’s first biogas fuel plant. A brand new 150-strong bus depot has been built next to the centre so the buses can fuel up on site. The centre handles 108,600 tonnes of green waste per year. 4) Kenya. Umande Trust, a Kenyan rights-based organization, has developed the BioCentre concept - a biogas generating latrine block, managed by community groups, which can be located anywhere in a slum as it treats human waste in-situ without requiring sewerage infrastructure. BioCentre benefits: • A Digester: Mixes water and human waste in anaerobic conditions to make biogas; remaining liquid effluent is 90% pathogen free and filtered on site. • BioGas: Used for cooking and linked to children’s feeding projects. It reduces carbon emissions replacing the need for other, less green, fuels. • Toilets and washrooms: Ground floor to ensure disabled access with free ‘child only’ cubicles • Water Kiosk: selling affordable clean water • Upper Floors: Maximizes restricted urban space, has a hall and ancillary rooms for community and livelihoods activities e.g. cottage industries or restaurant.
  • To meet our climate change commitments our homes and buildings will have to become low carbon and produce some if not all of their energy requirements. Buildings of the future will be zero carbon and will be designed to produce their own energy and to conserve and recycle water. However, we need to address the carbon emissions of existing buildings and to consider how these can also be retrofitted so that they can become low carbon, through both improved energy efficiency and micro-generation. London Rebuilding Society is proposing to develop a fund and holistic service that invests in, supports and develops the uptake of Urban AD in towns and cities by working in partnership with communities, social enterprises and local authorities. We are seeking partners to take this forward, to mobilise funding, research and develop designs for integrated AD technology, to undertake business modelling and to undertake at least one pilot this year with a community and or municipal partner.   Today, the production of biogas in the UK is largely confined to farms, some industrial locations and extraction of methane gas at landfill sites, although local authorities are being encouraged to develop Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) including Anaerobic Digestion. Government policy has been to encourage local authorities, farms and private sector to develop AD facilities, but may not have considered the potential for AD to address a range of problems and achieve policy objectives in urban areas. Our aim is to exploit this gap in the market.   We would finance and support local authorities, municipal, communities and social enterprises (independently or in combination as Energy Service Companies or Cooperatives (ESCO’s)) to set up medium and small integrated AD facilities in urban areas as part of the transition towards a Low Carbon economy.  
  • Festival of Ideas Urban AD

    1. 1. Urban AD Urban AD promotes the uptake of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) in urban areas as an innovative form of renewable energy and waste management. Urban AD uses AD to turn human, food and other organic waste into bio-gas, bio-fuel and fertiliser by, for example, turning public toilets into mini power stations. This technological solution can be used across schools, colleges, transport, public toilets, parks, prisons and hospitals.
    2. 2. The big picture
    3. 3. Benefits and savings <ul><li>How does your innovation reduce carbon emissions? </li></ul><ul><li>Produces renewable biogas, bio-fuel or green fertiliser </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces the emissions of methane (GHG) </li></ul><ul><li>Creates low carbon communities </li></ul><ul><li>What are the social and </li></ul><ul><li>financial benefits? </li></ul><ul><li>Creates green jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Supports London Food Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Income generation from sales of biogas, biofuel and fertiliser </li></ul>
    4. 4. Measures of success This approach is new to the UK, but is making a significant difference to the lives of people in the towns and cities of developing countries and in Europe.
    5. 5. Challenge and support <ul><li>What would most help your project to develop and grow? </li></ul><ul><li>Links to policy makers and public services to persuade them of the value of AD as a renewable energy and waste management technology </li></ul><ul><li>Advice on how to establish the project </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing a wider network committed to Low Carbon Communities </li></ul><ul><li>What are the biggest challenges or questions for your project? </li></ul><ul><li>Persuading policy makers that LAs, social enterprises and communities can play an active role in AD development; convincing individuals about their own active role </li></ul><ul><li>Developing low cost AD units and identifying suitable sites </li></ul><ul><li>Forging relationships between communities, social enterprises and LAs </li></ul>

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