Farmers line up to turn muck into energy
Telegraph.co.uk – August 22 2011
Where there's muck there's brass and, in the face of recession, farmers are putting the old adage into practice
A raft of farmers have responded to Government incentives to make energy from manure, waste crops and discarded food.
Between 40 and 50 farmers are seeking planning permission to set up anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which harness natural micro-organims to break down organic waste creating gas and heat which can be used to make electricity. If successful, they will double the UK's farm plants from 24.
Dr Prabodh Mistry, a consultant at AEA Group, which is helping investigate the potential for anaerobic digestion in the UK, believes 400 such plants, which produce between 300kW and 800kW of electricity each, are likely to be built by 2020.
Farmers are also among the backers of some big AD plants, capable of producing 1MW or more of electricity by processing a combination of farm waste, specially grown crops and discarded food collected by local councils. There are currently just 30 of these operating or commissioned in the UK. Dr Mistry believes there could be up to 70 operating by 2020.