What is anaerobic digestion?
Anaerobic digestion uses bacteria to transform organic waste into energy in the complete absence of oxygen. This transformation occurs in nature, in marshes, for example. In order to be useable on a larger scale, the process has been tamed and optimized in closed tanks called digesters. The micro-organisms digest the organic fraction of the waste and convert it into biogas, a source of renewable energy.
The residual organic matter (fraction not degraded during the process) forms the digestate that is dewatered, composted and used as a fertilizer by farmers.
Anaerobic digestion: why and for whom?
Anaerobic digestion delivers two types of recovery from organic waste in a virtuous carbon circle: agronomic with the production of compost, and energy in the form of biogas, electricity or heat. This technology is widely used across Europe and is gaining momentum all around the world.
It provides an answer to one of the current challenges facing the farming sector: design new models of production taking into account environmental constraints and improve competitiveness. Anaerobic digestion is not just used by the agricultural sector. It targets all types of organic waste, whether it is derived from farming, food and beverage industries or municipalities, such as green waste from parks and gardens and the byproducts from wastewater treatment plants.
What does anaerobic digestion mean for Veolia?
With anaerobic digestion, Veolia is stepping away from the linear production and consumption approach and moving towards the circular economy, an economy in which the waste discarded by some systematically becomes valuable resources for others.