Severn Trent Green Power prepares for a surge in pumpkin powered energy

The company is expecting to receive more than 50,000 pumpkins after Halloween this year to convert into green energy

Severn Trent Green Power prepares for a surge in pumpkin powered energy

Thousands of leftover pumpkins are expected to be delivered to Severn Trent Green Power food waste plants next week, leading to a surge in pumpkin power!

Following Halloween, teams at Green Power’s ten food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities across the Midlands, Home Counties, South Wales and South West are expecting more than 50,000 pumpkins to arrive, ready to be turned into spook-tacular renewable energy.

Green Power estimates that it will make around 22 megawatt hours of energy from the leftover pumpkins, enough to power almost 2,000 homes for a whole day!

Andrew Simm, Commercial Director for Green Power, said: “Last year we saw a big spike in food waste tonnages into our facilities in the week immediately after Halloween and we expect much of that food waste can be directly attributed to pumpkins, which can weigh on average about 4kg each.
“We’d encourage everyone to recycle their unwanted pumpkins to prevent them from going to landfill, where they decompose and create methane. Check with your local council to find out what its arrangements are for collecting leftover pumpkins as sometimes they’re picked up with your other food waste.”

In Oxfordshire alone, Green Power saw almost 150 more tonnes of food waste coming in during the week following Halloween. If all that waste were made up of pumpkins that would mean more than 36,000 of them.

While in the Midlands, over 50 tonnes more local authority waste came through the East and West Birmingham AD facilities combined during the same week, which is roughly equivalent to 13,500 pumpkins.

There’s no witchcraft when it comes to AD. The process is a simple and natural one. An AD plant basically acts as a giant stomach and as the food waste, or pumpkins in this case, break down, bio-methane gas is naturally released and captured. This green gas is then injected back into the local gas grid or converted into electricity, which again, can be exported to the local electricity grid, decarbonising the energy we all use.

At the end of this process, what’s left is a by-product that acts as an excellent fertiliser, rich in nitrates, which is great for farming - effectively returning food waste back to the ground it was grown in.

Pumpkin in food waste bunker
A discarded pumpkin can be used to make renewable energy

DID YOU KNOW? Frightening food facts

  • An estimated 9.5 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year*
  • 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin are thrown away each year in the UK*
  • That’s the same weight as 1,500 double decker buses
  • If food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases**
  • Anaerobic digestion captures the gases emitted from food waste decomposition which would have formed these greenhouse gases
  • Tackling the mountain of food waste in the UK could contribute to lowering our national greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 5%

    *WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), Oct 2018
    **United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Sep 2013

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