AD processing unit Blue Conrad to return to Germany

An anaerobic digestion processing unit called Blue Conrad will be opening its doors for the last time at the end of February in Wales and returning to its home in Germany.

The mobile processing unit has been based in Wales since last November (2013), and is sited at the Natural Trust farm Hafod y Llan, who are keen to turn soft rush, gorse and bracken crops into viable biomass fuel

Blue Conrad is a working model of the IFBB process – ‒ Integrated Generation of Solid Fuel and Biogas from Biomass ‒ and will be processing farmland ‘waste’ plant material to produce biogas and solid fuel briquettes.

This is happening as part of the COMBINE project which is being coordinated in Wales by the non-profit organisation Severn Wye Energy Agency in partnership with the National Trust and the sustainable waste management organisation Cwm Harry Land Trust. The project is funded by the European Union and the Welsh Government, and is a collaboration of four European countries; Germany, Belgium, France and the UK.

According to the Severn Wye Energy Agency, last November, the project held four days of talks and demonstrations of the unit, which generated significant interest in the process amongst Welsh Government, local authorities, nature conservation organisations and bioenergy businesses.

Rachel Smith, who manages the Combine project for Severn Wye, said: “We have had an exciting and very positive response to our discussions so far regarding the potential for using this technology to process the material currently cut and left on highway verges, processed into compost at civic amenity sites, or cut and left in nature conservation areas. The idea is that instead, this material can be used to produce biogas and biofuel briquettes.

 “The energy production could provide an income to enable sustainable management of roadside verges and nuisance plants, for example rush and bracken, which would improve biodiversity.”

The final demonstration days will be held on 20, 21 and 24 February. For more information on the project contact [email protected].

Liz Gyekye

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