a friendly, experienced, multidisciplinary team
LEAP grew out of a partnership of organisations who knew that technologies to solve the problem of food waste exist, but realised they could be applied more creatively at appropriate scales. We dedicated ourselves to finding sustainable solutions and engage people in the process of creating the circular economy from the ground up.
We combine mechanical and energy engineering, design, ICT, business development, training and food growing skills, with a focus on delivering local economic, social and environmental benefits.
We're delivering technology projects for the European Commission, Innovate UK and SUGI and have also worked with WRAP, local government and a number of universities including Brunel, Leeds and UCL. Our training courses promote the organic circular economy, renewable technology and local food growing.
OUR VISION is to make managing waste easier, more accessible, and more useful. We aim to inspire and support a global network of decentralised waste solutions to create opportunities and value. We want to contribute to a world where people and the planet thrive. We believe in a future where businesses, schools, universities, flats, and households can manage their organic waste and contribute to local, clean, sustainable food and energy production.
We'd are also keen to adapt our closed- loop model to support areas where its difficult to grow food or access fuel and fertiliser. Places needing to make the most of space and resources, like off-grid rural communities or refugee camps, can benefit from closed-loop organic resource management.
We believe sharing knowledge is key to transitioning towards a more
waste, climate, energy, water...its all kicking off!
Every year in the UK, an estimated 10 million tonnes of food waste winds up in landfills taking up unnecessary space, adding costs, and releasing methane into the atmosphere. Methane can be used for cooking, generating electricity and heat, and as a vehicle fuel, so that's also a big waste!
Methane is a greenhouse gas 20-30 times more potent than CO2. At 462ºC, Venus is a striking example of greenhouse gas activity. It's surface can melt lead and its atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater than Earth’s! When sunlight hits the ground, heat is reflected back into space but carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps much of it around the planet.
Scientists think Venus used to be more similar to Earth, with liquid water on the surface. Billions of years ago, the planet started to heat up, water evaporated and the carbon trapped in rocks ended up as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
We saw large-scale anaerobic digesters were doing a good job of extracting useful by-products from food waste but there are limits to this size, scale, and use.
To make the process more local and accessible, we're designing small-scale systems that can be used where waste is generated.
We've also demonstrated the concept at micro-scale in Central London at 'Living Lab' sites where we can have explored the challenges and opportunities. We figure, if we can make this work here we can make it work anywhere!
At the other extreme, Titan - Saturn's largest moon. features vast methane seas at temperatures of -180ºC.
Back on Earth, methane (produced extensively by the livestock industry and food waste biodegrading in landfills) accounts for only 14% of global emissions but traps up to 100x more heat than CO2 over 9-years.
On the other hand CO2 last for 100 years. Capturing these emissions as biogas to replace fossil fuel is key to tackling climate change.
microbes - the magic ingredient that makes the world go round
Nature has figured it all out. We humans are just catching up and realising in the process, what marvels are happening right under our feet! The complex soil ecosystem that sustains life on the planet, teaches us what it is to collaborate, across species, elements and scales. Our technology is a pale reflection of the complex symbiosis that has evolved over millenia.....but we have to start somewhere!
To simulate one of the process nature uses to break down organic wastes, we put food waste into heated, sealed tanks and mix them to create the ideal conditions for anaerobic microbes. These tiny recyclers break down the waste in the absence of oxygen to release biogas, 60% of which is methane.
We use this renewable fuel for cooking, heating space and water and generating electricity, depending on the site requirements.
Our automated systems monitor the biogas as well as conditions inside the digester to make sure the process is running smoothly. We build control systems to automate gas use so that nothing is wasted.
The remaining food waste is transformed into a liquid fertiliser called digestate, a rich source of nutrients, which can support food production in urban and rural areas including hydroponic systems.
Digestate made from food waste is high in nitrogen, a nutrient essential for green leafy growth and can replace artificially produced nitrogen fertilisers, which are extremely energy intensive to make, using large amounts of fossil fuels.
We test the best methods to use biogas and digestate to optimise the closed-loop model and are currently developing new technology to address the challenges and opportunities identified.
Meet the team
Guy Blanch BEng - Lead Engineer
Guy has 20-years experience developing equipment in agricultural and waste sectors and collaborating with AD operators to produce integrated systems. He has many research trial platforms for UK and overseas clients, with commercialisation and production development the key drivers. His main focus is on R&D engineering for LEAP, Loowatt and Alvan Blanch, designing and fabricating AD technologies including micro digesters, maceration, pre-feed, pasteurisation and biomethane upgrading equipment. He is passionate about bringing the benefits of micro AD to communities in the UK and other cold climates as well as to developing countries.
Diego Vega - Technical coordinator
Diego worked as a sustainability consultant and process manager with Arup for LEED, AQUA HQE, and Living Building certification. He is an experienced Building Physics Analyst, Facade Designer and Parametric Designer and has also worked as a Buildings System Manager and Commissioning Agent for HVAC, coordinating electrical and automation installations required to meet sustainability certification requirements. Diego uses his extensive experience to manage and troubleshoot the technical aspects of LEAP’s demonstration sites including the electrical and electronics systems as well as the AD and hydroponic systems.
Marco Fanasca BSc - Control Technician
Marco is an energy engineer with hands-on electrical and heating expertise. He teaches electrical power systems for leading Italian learning provider. Specialised in design and implementation of robust, low-cost control systems for off-grid, hybrid renewable technologies (solar PV, solar thermal, AD and wind), Marco has a passion for distributed renewable systems (microgrids), computer science and automation. He works with LEAP as an R&D engineer with a focus on micro biogas applications and the development of online digital control and monitoring systems designed for remote technical support and optimisation.
Katalin Patonay MSc - Training Coordinator
Katalin holds four MScs and is committed to the prevention of waste and the development of sustainable solutions for the future. Her role involves coordinating the training and volunteer programme and monitoring the closed-loop model as well as managing the digestate and food growing trials. She is in her element working with people and believes in life-long learning, recently discovering that she loves to teach, 20 years after receiving a teaching degree! Katalin is also a part time news editor and translator for HuMuSz Waste Prevention - a Hungarian waste prevention alliance.
Rokiah Yaman MA – Project Manager
Rokiah’s coordinates the LEAP demonstration sites, oversees fundraising and planning activities, and manages infrastructure and operational logistics. She is keen to bring micro AD technology and the closed-loop ethos into public spaces where people can see and understand the concept and its benefits. Her approach to working with the community has evolved through projects focused on community health and wellbeing, public engagement, community arts, environmental education and micro AD technology development. She has successfully managed collaborative projects for Innovate UK, WRAP, LB Camden, Camden NHS, LSX, the Arts Council and SUGI.
Angela Bywater - Senior AD consultant
Angela has a background in IT and project management, having worked for a number of well-known UK companies, including House of Fraser and Sun Life of Canada. Since 2001, she has since been involved in a number of AD reports and projects; notably for the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), which attracted significant worldwide interest; for Glasu (Welsh Government) on Farm AD & chicken manure; for the International Energy Agency Task 37 on small-scale AD; and RE-fuelling the Countryside for the RASE. A mine of useful information, Angie is currently working on setting up the UK’s AD Network and coordinates ADnet, a BBSRC funded initiative aimed at furthering innovation and promoting cutting-edge AD research.
James Murcott – Senior AD engineer
James is the founder and director of Methanogen UK Ltd, a British company, built on 40 years’ experience of designing, manufacturing and building anaerobic digesters for farms, sewage treatment, food waste and abattoirs. He also founded Farmgas, the UK’s largest AD company in 1974. His UK farm digesters alone have a combined operating time of more than 400 years and his company WRI created a market for their award-winning AD compost. His latest designs include a range of micro-scale digesters and full-scale automatic de-gritting digesters, the latter a major AD innovation, allowing gritty feedstocks such as unwashed sugar beet and slurry from cows bedded on sand to be fed directly to the digester. A well respected in the UK’s AD sector, James brings a wealth of expertise to LEAP’ team.