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An Anaerobic Digestion Plant for Orkney?

Exploiting waste for sustainable products, energy and fertiliser with Anaerobic Digestion – find out more – THURSDAY 28TH APRIL 2022

Anaerobic digestion is the process by which organic material (farm waste, brewery waste, distillery waste) is broken down by microorganisms to create biogas. This biogas can be used for many energy outputs and a renewable fuel source, like heat, electricity and vehicle fuel.

In 2019 researchers from Robert Gordon’s University conducted a feasibility study to assess the potential for a community driven anaerobic digestion plant in Orkney.

The project quantified waste streams available from the agricultural sector and the food and drink production sector. It then went on to pinpoint what type of AD technology would be suitable for the waste available and assess the economic feasibility.

Throughout the research the engagement with the community was excellent and the researchers now want to carry that through in the next steps.

A paper has been published from the project. An evaluation of feedstocks for sustainable energy and circular economy practices in a small island community

“the project found that anaerobic digestion produces the greatest environmental benefits for processing waste compared to landfill or producing animal feed. 


A small team involved in the project have decided the only way to follow through with the actions from the research project, was to create a business for the community.

The benefits of implementing a combined heat and power plant were explored and the study found that the community would profit. The anaerobic digestion plant will provide a constant base load of energy to help fill the gaps created with other intermittent energy supplies (wind and tidal).

The Creed Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF), located just outside Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, is owned and operated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), the Local Authority for the Western Isles. Current features of the site include an anaerobic digester (AD), combined heat and power plant (CHP), electric boiler and thermal store, a wind turbine and a hydrogen system comprising electrolyser, storage and refuelling station.

Anaerobic Digester Plant Stornoway Image via Cumbrian Energy Revolution

The team will be in Orkney on the 28th and 29th of April to have face to face meetings with the community already engaged within the project. They would also like the wider community to be involved and anyone interested can attend the main session on the 28th of April from 11am to 1pm. The event will be held in Kirkwall and the venue announced nearer the time.

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