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LONDON (Reuters) - A visit to the local pub will help Britons keep their homes warm and their stoves alight as the country's first commercial facility turning organic waste into biogas started sending gas to the grid on Friday.
Residues from beer brewed at an Adnams brewery in Suffolk and food waste from local Waitrose supermarkets, pubs and hotels offer fuel for an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, which catches gas produced as microbes feast on the organic materials.
"68 percent of what's in your kitchen bin can produce gas. All the green stuff, all the leaves, the potatoes, the grass can go into the system and convert to gas," said Steve Sharratt, chief executive of Biogroup, which is operating the site, said.
Minister of State at the department for energy and climate change Greg Barker said this week that biogas played a vital role in meeting Britain's base- and peakload power demand.
"Bioenergy is the single most important renewable energy resource," he said at an industry event on Wednesday.
The Suffolk AD plant is expected to produce one million cubic meters of gas in one year's time, when the facility's capacity will be doubled, Sharratt said.
Today the plant can provide gas for 235 homes and from the new year onwards photovoltaic cells worth 1.0 million pounds ($1.59 million) installed on the site will produce electricity for the machinery.
Earlier this week, British Gas, Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks opened their Didcot biogas plant, which uses sewage for producing methane.
National Grid estimated that human gas recycling projects could meet 15 percent of Britain's domestic gas needs by 2020.
Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson