The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is set to manage a £60,000 biogas training scheme that will look to further the UK’s knowledge and expertise in anaerobic digestion technology.
The programme, called Advanced Biogas Learning in Europe (ABLE), will see 30 professionals and young graduates travel to Germany to learn first-hand some of the skills and techniques used in creating a successful biogas sector.
The UK’s farming industry is already at the forefront of the development of the technology, but it’s hoped that the REA’s training scheme widen the scope, with the aim of imitating Germany’s pioneering role in the field.
The funding follows the REA’s April report, Renewable Energy: Made in Britain, which described how the industry currently supports 110,000 jobs. The organisation’s chief executive, Gaynor Hartnell, said that the biogas training programme is the “first practical step in boosting the UK skills base”.
She added, “Anaerobic digestion helps meet a range of environmental and waste management objectives.
“It also offers fantastic diversification opportunities for UK farmers, increasing the inclusiveness and resilience of our energy supply.
“Finally, it is one of the most versatile energy technologies, with the potential to provide renewable heat, power and transport fuels.”
Meanwhile, environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach welcomed the news.
“I am delighted that the Renewable Energy Association has been successful in obtaining this funding to provide training and work experience in Europe for employees from the UK biogas industry”, he said.
“This is an important step to help the industry gain the relevant skills that it needs as the sector expands.”
Anaerobic digestion is the conversion of organic waste into energy and biogas is the name given to the gases that are produced in the process.
Around 60 non-sewage biogas plants are in operation in the UK, mostly on farms. This is compared to the 7,000 that operate in Germany, which is why the country has been singled out as the ideal role model to base the UK industry’s aspirations on.