ETF project - GWE Biogas Ltd

Based in Driffield, East Yorkshire, anaerobic digestion company GWE Biogas Limited was established by local businessmen and farmers Tom Megginson and Mathew Girking to convert up to 50,000 tonnes of organic waste each year sourced from local authorities, food manufacturers and supermarkets, to energy.

In addition, Tom Megginson manages an arable farm in East Yorkshire and Mathew Girking runs his own poultry farm in the same area.

The project proposed to install various innovative processes, including a state of the art de-packaging process for removing packaging materials from food wastes, an innovative heat recovery system, a water recovery system for enabling agricultural land to be irrigated as well as an advanced digestate processing system.

The main output of the plant is biogas, to be used on site to generate approximately 2MW of electricity for export to the grid.  The long term objective is to upgrade gas to bio-methane to supply a private heat and wire network for new housing.

The wide ranging capabilities of this project help to show the diverse outputs of an anaerobic digestion system, as well as demonstrating the ways in which anaerobic digestion can work together with local businesses and communities for environmental gain by producing valuable outputs for use in agriculture.

Project updates


Project build - April 2011

Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DEFRA, formally opened the GWE Biogas Sandhill site on 14th April.  GWE Biogas use advanced depacking machinery to separate food from their packaging, allowing the plant to process food waste that other AD plants are often unable to use. The old packaging is then recycled or converted into a combustible fuel, for energy recovery at an approved site.


Our second 1MW CHP is also due to be commissioned this month.



Project build - December 2010

We are taking in around 100 tonnes a day of food waste at present and have just commissioned our first engine which is now exporting.  Final snagging is being carried out on site.  We are about to start our PAS110 accreditation.


Project build - November 2010

We have increasing quantities of gas and gave hit 65% methane already which is pleasing.  

We are now taking in several loads of food waste a day and the de-packing machinery is working well.

Our CHP is due to start export in early January.

The weather has caused us some issues and we have bulk bought salt!

Project build - October 2010

We are producing gas but flaring at present until we have enough of a good enough quality to burn through our first 1MW CHP Unit.   Packaged and liquid feedstocks are starting to be delivered and we are commissioning our de-packing line.  We are increasing our feeding rate now that the first digester is at temperature and starting to produce more gas.

This month we've had the usual commissioning issues which are too numerous to mention!

The key project focus for the next four weeks is to finish commissioning the plant and move towards full production.

Project build - September 2010

We have installed our boiler and the first CHP arrives mid October.  We have led in the seeding material for our first digester and hope to start heating up in mid October.

We have finally managed to secure are environmental permi, which turned out to be quite a long and arduous process.

We are looking forward to our plant finally becomming opperational in Mid to late October.

Project build - August 2010

This month has been rather busy with the installation of the de-sulphurisation column, the shredder, presses and conveyors, the heat exchanger, the emergency flare and the pasteurisation tank.

In addition, the dual purpose tank has had its gas storage cap fitted. The roof has also been fitted to the concentrate tank.

Work is continuing on the connecting pipework, as well as the electrical and control cabling.


The focus for the next four weeks will be the continued installation of connecting pipework and cabling. The second digester should also be clad with insulation. The offices will also move from Manor Farm to the site.

Project build - July 2010

This month we have seen work begin on the biofilter and more work performed on the second digester tank. The internal structure of the main reception building is evolving with more internal walls being erected. Work on the layout of the equipment and pipework has also begun.

The superstructure for carrying the pipes has been erected. Further civils work has been completed, including the road way between the the concentrate storage tank and the dual purpose tank.

Our focus over the next four weeks will be the delivery and installation of the pasteurisation tanks, the heat exchanger, the shredder and the desulphurisation column.

Project Build - June 2010

This month has seen the completion of the electricity sub-station and connection into the National Grid.  The company is curretnly importing electricity from the grid, but we now have the facility to export it once the first gas has been produced and put through the generator.


The Belmer Kufferrath presses have also now been delivered to site and work has begun on the main body of the second digester.

Our focus over the next four weeksis the construction of the biofilter, the building of pipework supports and continued work on the second digester.

Project build - May 2010

This month has seen the completion of the first hydrolysis tank and seen the near completion of the concentrate tank.

The focus for the next four weeks will be the installation of the transformer, power being brought into the site, the siting of the presses and work beginning on the second digester tank.


Project build - April 2010

This month has seen the near completion of the dual purpose tank. To be fully complete its membrane gas holder needs to be fitted.

The focus for the next four weeks will be the completion of one of the hydrolysis tanks, located behind the main digester, and the concentrate tank.


Project Build - March 2010

The sun is out and the build has stepped up a gear.  The first digester is now up and the other tanks are starting to follow.  We are also about to pour the main building floor.

The build phase is set to continue well.


Project Build - February 2010

Due to the weather, building of the tanks has been delayed by about six weeks, but work has been able to continue inside of the reception building.

We are confident that now everything has been ordered, we will be able to make up lost time.


Project build - December 2009

2009 has finished off on a high with all aspects of the finance in place. We continue to have positive negotiations with potential sources for our feedstocks, and are talking to local universities interested in monitoring the plants outputs.

The environmental permit has also now been accepted and advertised, which is a result of continued work with the Environment Agency for the last few months.

The construction of the tanks begins in early January with the rest of the build continuing steadily.


Project build - November 2009

The steel work for the reception buildings has started to be erected and the whole site is beginning to take shape.


Project Build - October 2009

Work has begun on pouring the foundations for the reception buildings and laying the drainage for the site.


Looking forward into November, steelworks for the reception building and construction of the bases for the tanks are due to start, Autumn weather allowing.

Project Build - September 2009

"We have managed to begin securing feedstocks for the plant, it seems that now the development  is guaranted, there is greater confidence in committing to contracts."

"The final design calculations have been completed and we can now focus on the project build with a view to begin commissioning in Spring 2010"

Project Build - August 2009

The project build is moving forward well.


GWE Biogas is pleased to announce that construction of the reception building is due to begin any time now.

"We have been working with our technology partners to try and get the most value out of the project as possible; no doubt discussions will continue as the project unfolds!"

Investigation into gas to grid technologies is still ongoing.

Project build - July 2009

The project is quickly pressing ahead with construction and the main enabling works have been completed. 


GWE has made their first appointment in Pip Snaith, who joins as Operations Manager with an initial focus on helping in detailed construction design and feedstock supply.

A recent dilemma has been choosing between combined heat and power (CHP) generation or upgrading to bio-methane, and they are disappointed that they have had to choose CHP.

There is ongoing focus to seek suitable partners in the waste industry and also companies who recognise the fantastic potential of AD to treat their wastes.  Detailed contractual discussions will continue and we will press ahead with permitting and ABPR approvals.