Powering a wave of new technology firms with bananas

Posted on 3 Sep 2012

Organic waste company TEG has secured funding to construct a £21m facility transforming food into power in east London.

The new facility will be capable of processing 49,000 tonnes a year of food and green waste via anaerobic digestion and composting technology on a large site situated in the London Sustainable Industries Park in Dagenham.

It will generate approximately 1.4MW of electricity, the equivalent of amount of power to supply over 2,000 homes, which will be used by the technology and renewable energy firms on the industrial park. It will also produce over 14,000 tonnes of compost for agricultural use every year.

The industrial park is set to house the UK’s largest concentration of environmental industries and technology companies, creating up to 750 jobs in east London.

Local manufacturers are set be involved at every stage of the process, with food and green waste produced by local households and commercial and manufacturing companies, to be turned into power using composting technology manufactured in the UK, and then used by the host of technology companies moving to the site.

The Foresight Environmental Fund, which is managing government money dedicated to redirecting waste away from landfill and reuse in projects such as this, invested £9m in the project. TEG secured £7.9m in loans from the London Waste and Recycling Board and Investec Bank, with the remaining investment arriving in the form of private equity.

London Major Boris Johnson has put £100m towards green projects in the capital. Photography courtesy of the BackBoris2012 Campaign Team.
London Major Boris Johnson has put £100m towards green projects in the capital. Photography courtesy of the BackBoris2012 Campaign Team.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who committed £100m to the London Green Fund, said: “TEG is the first to start building at our new industrial park, which we want to become a magnet for energy and environmental enterprises to support hundreds of new jobs. It becomes London’s first anaerobic digestion plant providing an innovative, environmentally friendly way to manage the city’s waste, helping to cut down on costly landfill.”

As part of the London Green Fund, the Foresight Environmental Fund will provide investment for projects that will help utilise the massive value of London’s waste through infrastructure such as power plants to convert waste biomass to clean energy and facilities for recycling waste products such as food and plastics.

London produces 2.6m tonnes of organic waste a year, which could generate revenues of around £170 million. The city produces an estimated 280,000 tonnes of plastics, much of which has ended up in landfill despite its high commercial value that could make it worth £140m a year.

TEG will construct and operate the plant under an engineering, procurement and construction contract, which is expected to generate approximately £16m in revenues for the company until construction is completed by March 2014. TEG has also been awarded a 15-year operating and maintenance contract worth £1.3m each year to manage the facility.