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British Gas to build £5m renewable power plant

British Gas is set to build a £5m power plant that will convert commercial food waste into renewable gas.

The project will be the first facility in the UK that will benefit from the renewable heat incentive, a similar scheme with feed-in tariffs, which incentivises properties with renewable heating systems.

The green gas plant will use food waste from local hotels, restaurants and even British Gas’ own offices that will be transformed into biomethane. British Gas will use the anaerobic digestion technology of Bio Group, a renewable energy developer.

Biomethane is beneficial in reducing carbon in the gas grid by delivering renewable heat to households through the existing gas network and central heating boilers.

According to a study of British gas and electricity provider National Grid, biomethane is predicted to account for at least 15 per cent of the domestic gas supply by 2020.

Renewable gas is made from organic materials such as cattle slurry, food or household waste. It is similar to the natural gas used in central heating and cookers. It needs little processing to clean it up to fuse in the existing grid for the customers.

Bio Group’s chief executive Steve Sharratt said that the utility is designed to use the company’s “groundbreaking technology” of innovative, low carbon building techniques to produce energy through a completely organic and natural process.

“British Gas and Bio Group’s deal is proof the announcement of the Renewable Heat Incentive is already stimulating green growth and increasing the amount of renewable energy in the U.K. I look forward to hearing about the progress of this project which will be amongst the first of its kind in the country to deliver green gas to homes,” said climate minister Greg Barker.

Stockport council-owned SK Waste Solutions has been contracted to collect the food waste that will power the plant.

British Gas’ facility will be built in an old landfill site in Stockport, a big town in Greater Manchester, England. The facility is set to open in April 2012 and is capable of supplying electricity to 1,400 homes each year.