A cutting-edge firm which is leading the way in the conversion of waste to energy is establishing its Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Liverpool – creating 160 new jobs – thanks to a deal with the Mayor.
H2 Energy Ltd is one of only a few firms in the country specialising in ‘anaerobic digestion’ or AD – a bio-refining system which turns food waste and farm waste into energy. Their bio-refineries are located where the waste is generated, on site; they provide companies with a green and cost-effective means of disposing of their waste, using it to power their business, and thus converting waste into an asset.
Initially a fledgling company, H2 Energy was looking for its first Operations and Commercial home, and now, thanks to support from the Mayor, they will be located in Liverpool. Their base is at stunning facilities in Wellington Business Park in North Liverpool. All design, research and development, manufacture, field support and commercial activities will be located there.
Around 160 jobs will be created in Liverpool over the next three years (with an initial 60 by 2014) – the majority of them local – and will tie in to the Liverpool In Work programme, which helps get long-term unemployed people into work.
Employment opportunities will include specialist engineering jobs, apprenticeships and a range of other business support roles.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “This is great news for Liverpool. We are always looking to work with ambitious, innovative companies who can bring new opportunities for local people, so I’m delighted H2 Energy have decided to set up base here.
“It will create jobs and apprenticeships and help kick-start a new, cutting-edge industry here. And attracting one of the country’s leading firms in anaerobic digestion will help establish Liverpool as a city which champions the sustainable production of energy.”
The Company provides a unique approach to food manufacturers, distributors or retailers (food companies; distribution companies; supermarket chains; shopping malls; airports etc). Their food waste can be fully and sustainably converted into energy, on site, where the waste is generated.
Whilst bio-refineries can be sold directly to clients, the most popular approach is where H2 Energy partners with the client. H2 Energy funds, designs, builds and operates the bio-refineries, on the client’s site. The client provides the waste and land on which to place the unit; in return H2 Energy provides power and heat back to the client (or the grid). The client can thus ‘hedge’ their waste disposal expenses and future energy supply costs, at no up-front cost.
There are only a handful of companies in the UK offering AD technology into the food industry, and the advanced systems, technology and commercial approaches offered by H2 Energy makes it a market leader.
The company has got off to a great start, and is already on-track to exceed its first year target for orders of its hi-tech units.
Kevin Bush, Chairman at H2 Energy, said: “We are at an extremely exciting stage in our development, with significant market demand for our technology. Liverpool is a key partner for us in this, providing us with our new home, along with all the support and highly-skilled staff required for success.”
Max Steinberg, CEO of Liverpool Vision said: “This is a significant investment in Liverpool by an innovative company and underlines the attraction of Liverpool as a business destination.
“We have an ambitious and long term vision and aspiration for North Liverpool because it offers an economic opportunity of national significance, especially in Low Carbon, and is key to the growth and prosperity of our city.
“This investment by H2 Energy represents both a huge vote of confidence in Liverpool and an acknowledgement that we have the right people with the right skills for the business to prosper.”
For more information on H2 Energy, visit www.h2energy.co, or contact them at 0151 230 1167.
• How does anaerobic digestion or AD work?
Bacteria, working in the absence of air, convert proteins, fats and carbohydrates into simpler sugars and ultimately into methane. Humans and mammals alike extract energy and nutrients from food this way, the bacteria being located in the digestive system. Cows can grow to over half a tonne in size purely from eating grass, and they utilise four separate stomachs, to extract such energy efficiently.
• What is special about H2 Energy’s technology?
Their cutting edge technology utilises multiple digestion tanks, with bacteria specifically cultivated for each step of the AD process used in the tanks. This results in clean bio-methane being produced which is then burnt to produce electricity and heat.
• Why is this Important?
In the UK about 8 million tonnes of food waste is produced in the preparation and distribution of food. A similar amount is produced in our homes. This used to be sent to land-fill, but increasingly this is no longer viable. The methane so produced in land-fill is also a powerful green-house gas. H2 Energy’s highly efficient AD-based systems convert such food waste into bio-methane which is then used to generate electricity and gas, on-site, where such waste is produced.
• What’s happening elsewhere?
Germany is the world leader in AD, with 8,000 units throughout the country, primarily to cope with farm waste and to generate methane from energy crops such as maize. Their units tend to be large, single-tank systems. There are only 250 or so AD units – predominantly of the German-style technology – the majority of which are used by water companies and municipalities. H2 Energy’s approach and technology are thus uniquely placed, in a large market, which currently has no answers to the problems of managing food waste efficiently and sustainably.