Food waste from London turns into green energy and fertilizer

Willen Biogas has appointed Xergi to build and operate its new 27,000 tpa waste to energy plant in Enfield, North London. The Plant will generate renewable electricity for the grid and recycle nutrients from organic waste matter to make agricultural fertilizer.

There is plenty of energy and essential nutrients in the large amounts of food waste produced each day by London's households, restaurants and food industry. Construction of this new biogas plant will extract the energy from a portion of the waste, while ensuring that the nutrients are recycled for agricultural land.

Instead of food waste ending up in landfills, as is the case today, recycling will help increase the share of renewable energy in the UK, and at the same time make agriculture production around London greener. The system thus contributes to the UK government's target to increase the recycling of waste in the UK.

The shareholders of Willen Biogas are Adrian Williams, Howard Williams, Brian Williams and Mark Lennon as well as  Foresight Group’s (“Foresight”) two managed investment funds Foresight Environmental Fund (“FEF”) and UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments Fund (“UKWREI”) which it manages on behalf of the UK Green Investment Bank.

The Project developer, D. Williams & Co., also owns Cattlegate Farm in Enfield, where the biogas plant will be built. BDO has assisted during the development in arranging financing of the project.

”This project is a welcome addition to the growing waste to energy infrastructure that is supporting London in its ambition to become a world leader in waste and recycling. This is the second project where both the Foresight Environmental Fund (FEF) and the UK Waste Renewable Energy Investments (UKWREI) have invested alongside each other to provide the majority of the equity and the first where they have provided the full project capital needed,” says Nigel Aitchison, partner at Foresight.

”As a business we have always looked into diverse operations that compliment agriculture, respect the environment as well as trying to achieve government targets. With the location of the farm as close to the centre of one of the major population capitals of the world, we could see a huge potential for a food waste fed anaerobic digestion plant. Having done various amounts of research into the technology available for biogas plants Xergi gave us the confidence that we needed to commit to them for the building of our facility. It has been a long battle to go through the different aspects of achieving our goal for this project, but we are confident now we have all the right business partners in place and a very thorough team to carry out the build and operation of the facility,” says Adrian Williams, partner in D. Williams & Co.

Xergi has more than 25 years of experience in constructing biogas plants. During this time, the company has developed a robust biogas technology that extracts energy from many different types of organic waste and other biomass.

The contract involves Xergi delivering a turnkey-ready biogas plant to Willen Biogas. In addition, Xergi will be responsible for the commissioning of the plant and the subsequent operation for two years. This will involve Xergi establishing a new organisation to ensure efficient operation of the plant.

"We are proud that we now have the opportunity to help make London's food and energy production greener. Our technology is particularly suited to this task and we therefore look forward both to building the plant and the responsibility for operations," says Xergi CEO Jørgen Ballermann.

Among other features, the plant is equipped with a pre-treatment facility that sorts plastic residues from organic waste. The plant will also be built with an engine plant that can produce 1.5 MW of electricity, enough to power ca. 1750 households.

Construction began in August of this year and the biogas plant is forecast to become operational in May 2016.


Willen Biogas is owned by the investment funds Foresight Environmental Fund (“FEF”)and  UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments fund (“UKWREI”) (51%), with both funds managed by Foresight Group LLP, and by Adrian Williams, Howard Williams, Brian Williams and Mark Lennon (together 49%). The new biogas plant is located at The Cattlegate Farm, owned by D. Williams & Co. The plant will create 6-7 new, permanent jobs. D. Williams & Co. is owned by partners Adrian Williams, Howard Williams and Brian Williams, among others. The company works with transport, storage and agriculture.

Foresight Group LLP is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager owned by its partners, that has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for 30 years. Foresight has more than £1 billion of assets under management and boasts one of the UK's leading environmental infrastructure investment teams.

The firm BDO is the world’s 5th largest accounting and business advisory firm.

Xergi is a specialist in designing, building and operating biogas plants. The company has built 50 biogas plants and has used its vast experience to develop system concepts that are flexible, robust in structure, reliable in operation and easy to control.

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) was launched in November 2012. With £3.8 billion of funding from the UK Government, it is the first bank of its kind in the world. It is a "for profit" bank, whose mission is to accelerate the UK's transition to a greener economy, and to create an enduring institution, operating independently of Government.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time.
Read more about our Cookie and Privacy Policy . Otherwise we'll assume you're OK to continue.