An anaerobic digestion plant has opened in County Durham that will treat food waste from commercial sources.
The £8 million Emerald Biogas plant will generate 1.56MW of power from sources such as supermarkets, restaurants, schools and other businesses.
It is also able to process card, plastics and other materials from supermarket packaging waste around food, which is then sent to local recycling facilities.
Digestate from the plant will be used on local farms.
Emerald Biogas director Antony Warren said: “I am delighted with the progress made in terms of getting the plant to this stage. It is fantastic to see it up and running, as this truly is a one of a kind facility in the north east and the first in the region to begin operating.
“We are now in the position to accept and process unwanted commercial food waste and employ the latest AD technology to create a valued commodity that will be extremely beneficial to the local business and farming community.
“We are all excited for the positive journey ahead, with expansion a strong possibility, as we would like to see Emerald Biogas reach its full potential in the near future.”
Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson added: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is good for the environment and good for businesses, creating a stronger economy and jobs.
“Our AD loan fund has helped to support the development of this plant which will treat food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.”