Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:31 UK

Manure and waste food to put power into Scotland's grid

Rotting food
Waste food and animal sludge will be used at the plant

Animal sludge and waste food will be used to produce renewable energy at a major new development in Ayrshire.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have sealed a £13.5m deal to start construction of Scotland's largest bio-gas plant.

The new plant will be capable of processing about 75,000 tonnes of waste annually, producing about 2.5MW of renewable electricity.

The plant is expected to be operational by 2011.

The gas is made by anaerobic digestion. Natural waste such as discarded food, manures and grass silage are mixed in air-tight tanks with bacteria cultures to produce natural gas and rich fertiliser.

Energy solutions

The bio-gas can be burned to produce electricity and the fertiliser is fed back into farmers' soils.

SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said: "Biogas has the potential to be one of the most important new generation's renewable and sustainable energy solutions available to us."

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "The Barkip plant will be the largest of its kind in Scotland and will divert a staggering 37,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill each year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recover value from resources that would otherwise be wasted.

"Today's announcement is further evidence of our drive to produce clean renewable energy and stimulate economic growth through green jobs."

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