Adnams injects first renewable gas from brewery to Grid

Adnams Bio Energy injects first renewable gas from brewery waste to National Grid

Adnams Bio Energy will deliver the first renewable gas made from brewery and local food waste to National Grid from its groundbreaking anaerobic digestion (AD) plant on Friday 8 October.

In partnership with British Gas and National Grid, Adnams Bio Energy will generate up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours per year - enough to heat around 235 family homes for a year or run an average family car for 4 million miles. In the future the facility will produce enough renewable gas to power the Adnams brewery and run its fleet of lorries, while still leaving up to 60 per cent of the output for injection into the National Grid.

By using brewery and local food waste to generate renewable gas, the plant will make a contribution to decarbonising the gas grid by delivering renewable heat to households through the existing gas network and central heating boilers. It will also prevent the release of highly-polluting greenhouse gas (methane) to the atmosphere, through diverting the waste from landfill. Waitrose is the first business to sign up to supply waste to the facility and has committed to sending food waste from seven of its nearby branches of Waitrose along with a John Lewis.

Mike Walters, Recycling and Waste Operations Manager for Waitrose and John Lewis, said: "We are delighted to be the first retailer to become involved with Adnams Bio Energy in this exciting project.

"Waitrose was the first national food retailer back in 2008 to use anaerobic digestion as the best solution environmentally for its food waste. This new plant provides us with a local solution so that seven more Waitrose branches and a John Lewis store can reduce their impact on the environment and bring us nearer to achieving our objective of diverting 95 per cent of all our waste from landfill by 2013.

"This project is unique as it produces renewable gas from brewery and food waste for injection into the national gas grid rather than to generate electricity."

Renewable gas is produced from organic material such as food waste. It is very similar to natural gas and, once upgraded to grid specification, can be injected into the gas network for end use by customers. A study by National Grid shows that biomethane has the potential to account for at least 15 per cent of domestic gas consumption by 2020.

The Adnams Bio Energy plant consists of three digesters - sealed vessels in which naturally-occurring bacteria act without oxygen to break down up to 12,500 tonnes of organic waste each year. The result is the production of renewable gas as well as a liquid organic fertiliser.

In addition, following an agreement with British Gas, Adnams Bio Energy has deployed solar thermal panels and will shortly install cutting edge photo-voltaic cells to generate renewable electricity for the plant. The deal will ensure that all of the site, including the Adnams Distribution Centre, will be using renewable energy generated on-site with some surplus energy available for export. This is another groundbreaking feature for the facility.

Cambridge-based Bio Group specialises in renewable energy and has a vast amount of experience in design and construction of processing plants across the UK. Steve Sharratt, Group Chief Executive said: "This facility has been designed using our groundbreaking technology as the first stage of a national roll out of AD plants. We use innovative, low carbon building techniques to produce energy through a completely organic and natural process; nothing is wasted."

Chief Executive of Adnams, Andy Wood said: "We are delighted that Adnams Bio Energy is located on the site of our eco-distribution centre. For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams' brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.

"The industrial ecology cycle is completed when the fertiliser produced from the anaerobic digestion process can be used on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer. This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region and the production of renewable energy. The food waste would otherwise be destined for landfill, but processing it through the digester will save an estimated 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from landfill."

Gearóid Lane, Managing Director of Communities and New Energy at British Gas, said: "It is great to see British households using renewable gas to heat their homes and cook their food. This project demonstrates how local communities can help us move to a low carbon energy future. Using waste that would otherwise end up in landfill to produce renewable gas is mutually beneficial for the environment and homes and businesses".

Mark Fairbairn, Executive Director of National Grid Gas Distribution said

"We're very pleased to be associated with this project which is the first end to end demonstration of reusing waste to provide gas for injection into the grid. As well as proving a good solution for waste, it also shows the potential for gas to become a renewable fuel."



  • Adnams Bio Energy (ABE) is wholly owned by the Bio Group, Adnams has licensed its brand name and is providing feedstock.
  • The average home uses 56 kWh/day gas, which requires the waste from brewing approximately 600 pintsbeer to produce.
  • The average home uses 20,500 kWh gas/year. The facility will provide enough gas for 235 homes per year.
  • 28m pints of beer a day are consumed across the UK. If all of the associated waste was used to produce biomethane, it would produce enough renewable gas to heat 47,000 homes.
  • The development costs are £2.75m


Adnams, the brewer and retailer, is an independent values-based business committed to a sustainable future. It has been brewing from its base at Southwold on the Suffolk coast for over 100 years and produces a range of cask and bottled beers which are available in pubs and supermarkets nationwide. The company has an estate of pubs, hotels and self-catering accommodation and a chain of successful wine and kitchenware stores.

Bio Group

Bio Group exists to make a difference. As the UK's leading business of its kind, Bio Group has built facilities across the UK and is now rolling out its latest AD technology incorporating low carbon techniques and materials. Bio Group is committed to the delivery of community based facilities, dedicated to generating renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

British Gas

British Gas, the biggest energy supplier in the country and part of the Centrica group of companies, has the lowest carbon intensity of any of the major UK energy suppliers in terms of tonnes of CO² emitted per megawatt hour of electricity supplied to customers.

National Grid

National Grid owns the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and operates the system across Great Britain. It also owns and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain and its distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses.

Waitrose and John Lewis

Waitrose and John Lewis stores are part of the John Lewis Partnership. There are 234 Waitrose branches and 30 John Lewis shops in England, Scotland and Wales. The partnership works hard to minimise food waste at all stages of the supply chain. Currently food waste from 95 Waitrose shops and three John Lewis departmental stores is transported to an AD plant in Northamptonshire.