“Anaerobic digestion is just the breakdown of organic material in the absence of oxygen, it’s a natural process that happens in the environment, but you can do it in a controlled manner in a big tank basically.”

Those are the words of Stephen Nolan, plant manager with Green Generation.

The company transforms agricultural and food waste into renewable energy. Nolan features on this week’s Young Stock Podcast, where he succinctly explains what anaerobic digestion is.

“It could be as simple as covering a slurry lagoon or a tank and you’ll create that environment and get that gas off it, but you can optimise that process by applying heat and mixing and agitation.

Stephen Nolan from Green Generation.

“Any organic material can be broken down into gas, which is about 50% to 60% methane and the rest is CO2.

"That gas can be used to power an engine, a combined heat and power unit or it can be upgraded by removing the CO2 and made into biomethane, which can then be used as a transport fuel or injected into the gas grid.

“The leftovers from that process are the consistency of dairy slurry, 6% to 8% solids, and it’s a good fertiliser,” he said.

Listen to the full podcast here: