Sterling pioneers energy from waste

18th Aug 2023

North East based Sterling Environmental Solutions, part of Sterling Pharma Solutions, has commissioned an £8m anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, which is the first of it’s kind in the UK, supporting the company’s aim for carbon neutrality.

Based in Cramlington, Sterling Environmental Solutions is an integral part of its parent company, Sterling Pharma Solutions, which develops and manufactures the active pharmaceutical ingredients for medicines that are consumed across the world. Not only does this waste treatment plant treat Sterling’s waste, it is also open to other companies from across the UK to enable them to benefit from more sustainable waste treatment services.

The AD plant has been built in support of the site’s existing waste treatment facility, which Sterling has been operating for over 30 years. The new plant allows Sterling to produce energy from waste, rather than disposing of it, by using anaerobic bacteria to break down the organic waste into biogas. This is then cleaned and injected into the National Gas Grid as a green energy source. The AD plant will put enough energy into the local infrastructure to power 6,000 homes.

Jyoti Patel, General Manager of Bioplant and Waste Services at Sterling, said: “We are proud to offer this much needed, more sustainable, waste treatment service from our North East headquarters. Any waste treated in our AD plant will be given a recovery code, rather than a disposal code. This means that we are handling our waste in a much more desirable way and can offer this treatment option to Sterling’s existing and new customers and other business’ which produce waste across the UK, Ireland and Europe.”

The new plant is part of Sterling’s environmental sustainability commitment to reduce its Cramlington site’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2025, to support its ultimate goal of carbon neutrality.

Brian Peutherer, Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at Sterling, said: “We are delighted to be leading the way with this smart, sustainable solution to waste management and energy production, which is already reducing our carbon emissions and providing a valuable solution to local organisations’ waste needs. The plant is the first of its kind in the UK as it uses liquid organic waste as a feedstock.

“At Sterling we support the development and manufacture of life altering medicines for patients not only in the UK, but across the globe, so it’s great that we are able to do this in a more sustainable way.”

Whilst constructing the new plant, Sterling has also taken the opportunity to enhance its biodiversity plans on the site, including developments to the wetland and wildlife areas to improve the habitat and further support local wildlife.

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