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Brit company 'has solution to food waste crisis'

17 February 2010

Vertal, to meet the recycling challenge faced by Government, says it has opened the first of a new breed of hi-tech composting plants, turning waste food into carbon positive fertiliser to grow new food

Now, it says, the Government must act quickly to support this breakthrough technology if it is to achieve its promise to solve the UK’s chronic food waste disposal problem within two years.

“Hilary Benn set himself an ambitious target in his recent announcement,” says Vertal’s founder - managing director Leon Mekitarian.

“The UK currently produces over 20 million tonnes of food waste every year. The Government’s preferred recycling option - Anaerobic Digestion (AD) – currently only has capacity to tackle a tiny fraction of that, and new facilities have proven to be expensive, space-hungry, and slow to build.

“Our process only takes 72 hours to process the food waste, is highly efficient, and due to its small footprint can easily be installed on urban industrial estates close to the sources the waste.

“Vertal’s first facility - re-using an existing building in Mitcham, South London - will process up to 100,000 tonnes of organic waste each year, converting it into a nutrient-rich fertiliser for use in agricultural food production.”

Unlike compost outputs from other technologies, the high nutrient content of the product means this can directly replace petrochemical fertilisers, widely used in commercial farming and derived from fossil fuels; providing a wide and virtually inexhaustible market for the product.

Based on third-generation Auto-thermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion (ATAD) technology, Vertal’s process is in effect a super-charged compost heap.

Unlike other technologies, it harnesses its own latent heat, so needs no additional direct energy inputs to pasteurise food waste above the required 70oC, with the surplus heat energy at the end of the natural process being used for direct heating in offices or homes.

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