On-Farm AD Loan Fund launched by WRAP

Farmers across the country are now able to apply for a loan of up to £400,000 to build small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) plants on their land, as part of a £3m initiative from Defra and WRAP.

The On-farm AD Loan Fund, launched last October, is designed to support farmers that are struggling to obtain the finance to build AD plants which, in practice, generate less than 250kW of energy and utilise farm waste such as manures and slurries.

“The On-Farm AD Loan fund is to help farmers convert more of their farm waste into renewable energy and valuable fertilizer through the process of Anaerobic Digestion,” said WRAP’s CEO Liz Goodwin.

“Having a small-scale facility on-site will help farmers to improve their manure and slurry management and environmental controls, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security.

“There are additional benefits from this approach as the digestion process makes the nutrients in farm wastes more readily available for crop uptake.”

The first stage of the On-Farm AD Fund offers grants of up to £10,000 to help farmers develop business plans – this has already received nearly 400 enquiries.

The second stage is this new loan, funded by Defra and managed by WRAP, of which farmers will need to match the value with finance from other sources.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson believes the loans that are now available will encourage growth in the AD sector.

“This will strengthen local economies by producing local energy, cutting waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recycling valuable nutrients back into the land,” said Rogerson.

Meanwhile, the UK’s AD sector looks set for further growth with the recent opening of London’s first commercial AD plant. The TEG Biogas plant in Dagenham is funded by the Green Investment Bank and is being operated and managed by green technology company TEG Group.

As reported by edie last week, the new plant is situated on a 4.7-acre site owned by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. It has the capacity to process up to 50,000 tonnes of food and green waste every year; producing 14,000 tonnes of compost, 36,000 tonnes of digestate and 1.4MW of renewable electricity.

And just last month, the GIB announced that it was investing £51m in an energy-from-waste plant in Norfolk. It will process 170,000 tonnes of black bag waste from households across the county and 100,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste each year.

Luke Nicholls

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