Inaugurated in 2014, the site is expected to expand by 33% with the construction of a new anaerobic digester (AD) tank. Once complete, the facility - which accepts food waste from across the North West - is anticipated to be capable of processing 160,000 tonnes of food waste a year. According to ReFood, this will make it one of the highest capacity AD plants in Europe.
"Construction of a new 3,500 digester tank at Widnes will substantially increase food waste recycling capability in the area, with the major towns and cities of the north west set to reap the benefits. Sending food-waste to landfill can cost businesses and councils substantially more than having it recycled into energy. Typically, costs can be 46% higher," said Richard Poskitt, commercial manager at ReFood.
“This expansion represents a serious investment in the recycling capacity of the north west. To put things into perspective, once these works are complete, the site will have the capacity to handle all of Liverpool’s municipal food waste, while generating green energy for local users. Our presence in Widnes amounts to a £30m investment into the region, and our expansion will bring more jobs, both during construction and in the long-term,” predicted Poskitt.
Situated between Liverpool and Manchester, the Widnes plant is 15 miles away from the Royal Liver Building and is expected to be able to accept food waste from both council collections, and businesses. The expansion works started in September and it is said to be on a 22-week build program.
"The expansion will not affect the site’s current capacity during the construction process," added ReFood's commercial manager.