Kier has announced a £24.4m investment in UK food waste to energy business Biogen.
The 50/50 joint venture with Biogen’s parent company, Bedfordia Group, will build on Kier’s commitment to green energy and enhance its environmental business by providing intelligent solutions for the treatment of food waste, complementing the Pure recycling business that Kier acquired in 2010.
Headquartered in Bedfordshire, Biogen designs, builds and operates large-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to process food waste and produce renewable energy.
Biogen, which was established by Bedfordia in 2005, currently owns and operates two large commercial AD plants in the UK (both of which are included in the joint venture) and, in conjunction with Kier, plans to build a number of further plants in strategic locations to serve the requirements of local authorities, food retailers, food manufacturers and commercial waste providers to the food and retail industries.
There is significant demand for new AD plants across the UK, with 7m tonnes of food waste being produced per annum and current AD capacity of only 2.5m tonnes, resulting in a need for a further 100 plants. With Kier’s investment, Biogen plans to be operating nine plants by 2017.
Paul Sheffield, Kier Group chief executive, commented: “We are delighted to have made the investment in Biogen, which again demonstrates Kier’s strategy of developing intelligent solutions for our clients and also our commitment to the green agenda. We see significant potential in an attractive market for the development of the business in the coming years.”
John Ibbett, Bedfordia Group chairman, added: “We are very happy to be working with Kier, which shares Biogen’s strong company values. Part of Biogen’s long-term strategy has been to identify a partner with which we can develop the proven commercial viability of our own AD technology. The joint venture will now be able to expand its network of plants across the UK, making clean green energy from food waste available to more end-users.”
The deal is the latest in a series of initiatives by Kier to support the green agenda, including developing an in-cab technology system called ‘KierWay’, which has helped local authorities across the country make efficiency savings through vehicle tracking, route planning and performance management systems.