The complete guide to anaerobic digestion: the process and benefits

Anaerobic digestion, a natural biological process, is an environmentally friendly and efficient method for harnessing renewable energy from organic waste.

The complete guide to anaerobic digestion: the process and benefits

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the fascinating world of anaerobic digestion, exploring its process, benefits, and its role in shaping a greener future.

Understanding anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a complex process that occurs in the absence of oxygen, where microorganisms break down organic matter into biogas and digestate. The organic food waste is collected in a large vessel called an anaerobic digester. Inside this vessel, bacteria works to convert the organic matter into two main by-products: biogas and digestate.

The biogas advantage

Biogas, the primary output of anaerobic digestion, is a valuable energy resource composed mainly of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). It can be transformed into biomethane and used directly for electricity and heat generation, or as a clean transportation fuel. Harnessing biogas for energy significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Additionally, biogas production helps to alleviate the environmental burden of organic waste disposal, promoting a circular economy approach.

Environmental benefits

One of the most compelling aspects of anaerobic digestion is its positive impact on the environment. By diverting organic waste from landfill, the process mitigates the release of harmful methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas with a significant impact on climate change. The decomposition of organic waste in landfills is responsible for a considerable portion of global methane emissions. Anaerobic digestion curtails this problem while providing a renewable energy source.

Waste reduction and resource recovery

Anaerobic digestion turns organic waste into a valuable resource. As the process breaks down complex organic compounds, the remaining digestate is a nutrient-rich material that can be used as an organic fertiliser. This closed-loop approach promotes sustainable agriculture practices, reduces the need for chemical fertilisers, improves soil health and helps conserve valuable resources.


Anaerobic digestion is a remarkable process that exemplifies the power of nature to provide sustainable energy solutions while addressing waste management challenges. Its ability to convert organic waste into valuable biogas and digestate offers a dual benefit: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and generating renewable energy. As we move towards a greener and more sustainable future, embracing anaerobic digestion is a vital step in harnessing the potential of organic waste to fuel a cleaner world. By promoting its adoption and investment, we can create a positive impact on the environment, economy, and society as a whole.

Check out our food waste page to find out more about how we process food waste and turn it into energy.

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