Anaerobic Digestion Workshops Encourage Farm Waste to Energy Projects
A Series of workshops aimed at encouraging farmers to convert farm waste into energy, heat and fertilizer through Anaerobic Digestion (AD) are being held in North East England following the completion of a state-of-the-art plant at Cockle Park Farm near Morpeth. The Cockle Park Farm AD installation, which converts manure from pigs and cattle into green energy, has now been completed at the Northumberland farm by Newcastle University and will form part of the new Centre for Renewable Energy from Land (CREEL). The energy at Cockle Park is being used to heat the AD tanks to maintain the required operating temperature and will also be used to heat the pig units. The University says that it is also planning to install a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit which will generate electricity to export back to the grid.
According to CREEL, the project places the North East at the forefront of technology, providing an opportunity for farmers to seek advice, support and guidance to make informed decisions on managing waste, renewable energy and diversification. The project went ahead after One North East approved funding of nearly £860,000 through its Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) in a jointly funded scheme with Newcastle University.
The aim of the project is to show how waste from pig, dairy and beef units can be used to produce heat, electricity and organic fertilizer with the central feature being workshops for farmers, the rural community and food companies to allow experts to transfer their knowledge applied on a farm scale. The day-long workshops consist of presentations on AD technology, issues relating to the construction of an AD plant including planning and permits, together with information on the use of the organic fertiliser and biogas. Workshops are rounded off with a tour of the Cockle Park plant.
Adrian Sherwood, RDPE Manager at One North East, said: "Anaerobic digestion offers considerable potential for farms and rural businesses in the production of energy as well as for the management of animal manures and other waste." Sherwood added.
"However the number of facilities on farms in the UK is limited because the technology is relatively new. The up-take of such technologies by a small proportion of land based businesses would make a valuable contribution towards renewable energy targets in the UK, so it is very exciting that the region is at the forefront of this technology."
Project lead Dr Paul Bilsborrow, based in the university's school of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development said: "The workshops which have taken place so far have been extremely interesting, attracting a vast range of delegates from the farming community along with professionals involved in the AD development process. Feedback has indicated how valuable and informative these workshops have been.
"A considerable amount of interest has also been expressed in our free feasibility service where we can help farmers with their calculations to establish the viability of an AD plant on their farm."
It is forecast that around 200 land based businesses and 54 food industry businesses will take part in training as a result of the project, with a further 72 other businesses and public sector organisations receiving training and information to support the growth of AD.
Source: Waste - Management - World
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