Plans for new hi-tech £1.8m bio gas plant in Portsmouth are revealed by council chief

AMBITIOUS plans for a new £1.8m bio gas plant are being drawn up by council chiefs in Portsmouth, it can be unveiled today.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 24th January 2022, 4:55 am

The proposal was revealed exclusively to The News by Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council.

The authority is seeking to set aside an extra £1.2m from its upcoming budget to help fund the new £1.8m food recycling centre.

The hub would be made up of a series of anaerobic digesters, which use organic waste to generate methane gas, which is burned to generate electricity.

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Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

It’s hoped the new facility could help recycle more than 5,000 tonnes of wasted food.

Councillor Vernon-Jackson said that, if approved, the plant could see the city pumping more green energy back into the grid, benefiting taxpayers and the environment.

Speaking to The News, the Liberal Democrat boss said: ‘I think this is a really popular idea.

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Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council. revealed plans for the new bio gas plant ahead of the council's next budget. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘Across Hampshire there are only two councils that do food recycling: Portsmouth and Eastleigh. As part of the budget, we will be putting money into building a new anaerobic digester to serve Portsmouth, the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.‘Everyone has to feel they have their contribution to make. Every household can help reduce our carbon footprint and people really like doing their bit.’

Currently about two-thirds of residents across the Portsmouth area are able to recycle their food waste, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

However, unless more funding is pumped in, the city won’t be able to maintain this level, with current cash expected to last until September.

It’s hoped that by creating a new bio gas plant, the city could then recycle 100 per cent of the island’s wasted food – and take in other waste supplies from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

A new £1.8m bio gas plant is being proposed in Portsmouth. Picture: Shaun Roster

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘A quarter of electricity for households in Portsmouth comes from electricity generated either at the incinerator [in Copnor] or by collecting the gas off the old dump at Port Solent.

‘We will be able to generate even more with this new food recycling site.

‘It will mean we will make money from selling the gas to British Gas but there will be people being able to cook without having to use fossil fuels to do so. It's a renewable source.’

Cllr Dave Ashmore from Portsmouth City Council with food waste caddies

Plans are still in the early stages of development, with no site yet earmarked as the future home of the city’s high-tech bio gas plant.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the proposed facility could be made of either one or two digester tanks.

He added: ‘We’re trying to find a site that works. It’s quite big. We’re looking at several potential sites.’

The scheme is all part of Portsmouth’s bid to become a greener, more sustainable city.

As previously reported, the council declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in Portsmouth by 2030.

The bio gas plant proposal is set to be announced as part of Portsmouth’s City Council’s budget plans, next month.

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