The UK's biggest plant for exporting energy produced by food waste has been opened this week in Widnes, Cheshire.
Costing £22.5million to build, the anaerobic digestion facility will recycle up to 120,000 tonnes of waste foods and liquids a year, and pump out up enough biomethane gas to provide power for 10,000 homes.
The gas will be piped directly into the National Grid.
As Cheshire is a major centre of food production and processing in the UK, the companies behind the plan hope it will serve as a showcase for the potential of the processes involved.
“Food waste offers such important potential as a resource, that we must maximise this through the use of new innovative technologies," said Andy Smith, chief executive of Saria, parent company of the operator of the Widnes plant.
It provides a food waste collection and recycling service which will be used by businesses operating within a 50-mile radius, which includes the cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Chester.
The site is the second operated by Saria in the UK. The first was opened near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 2011, while a third plant, in Dagenham, Essex is expected to be operational early next year.
The main by-product from the company's plants is fertiliser which is sold to farmers in the neighbouring areas.