ADBA member National Skills Academy target skills to support future of UK AD sector


Working in conjunction with bioeconomy consultants, NNFCC, the National Skills Academy Process Industries has launched a one-day training module aimed at the UK’s growing anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.

The course is the first in a series being planned by the Academy to upskill workers in the technical and safety aspects of the AD process.

Anaerobic digestion involves bacteria breaking down organic material, such as agricultural and food wastes, in a digester. In the absence of oxygen, this process produces biogas which is used to produce electricity or purified to run vehicles or injected directly into the gas grid under the Feed-In Tariff scheme. As well as the gas, anaerobic digestion also produces nutrient rich digestate which can be used as a biofertiliser.

The Coalition government has made a commitment to introduce measures to increase energy from waste through anaerobic digestion. The resulting Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan from Defra identifies that building UK skills is a challenge that needs to be overcome if the AD market is to thrive.

As part of its remit to increase skills and competencies in the UK process industries, including biotechnology, the National Skills Academy Process Industries has invested in the development of a training course aimed at operating staff employed on farm and commercial AD sites. The course focuses on providing underpinning scientific knowledge appropriate to the job role of the technicians operating the units.

It will provide the chemical understanding of how an AD process works, for example the importance of variables such as pH and acidity. Understanding the chemistry of the process will improve the knowledge of the technicians enabling them to interpret trends better and make informed decisions about how the plant is operated. Putting this scientific and operating knowledge into practice will allow technicians to increase the yield of methane, creating greater economic benefit and increasing plant profitability.

Kevin Thrower, biotechnology business manager, National Skills Academy Process Industries, said:

The NNFCC’s knowledge of the AD sector combined with the Academy’s experience in developing targeted and standards-based training has created a strong offering which we firmly believe will help to improve knowledge and skills in the AD market and contribute to its future success.

Courses will be delivered by Academy approved providers at various locations around the country. The first course is scheduled for delivery in October with further courses planned for later in the year.

Posted in: ADBA News, Industry News, Members' press release, News for Members, Policy updates, R&D Updates

Tags: safety, technical competence, training