An anaerobic digestion (AD) plant, fed by agricultural biomass including chicken litter, cow dung and pig slurry, went live earlier this month on a nearby farm.

The biogas produced feeds a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to produce 350kW of electricity per hour, enough to supply 175 homes with electricity.

Farmers Jeremy Iles and James Hart own the plant. They will benefit from free heat for animals, grain drying and housing, which was previously a significant expense.

The facility and inclusion of the CHP was designed by Frank Kenny of Water & Waste Services, and the main CHP supplier was Alfagy.

The project was funded by a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England and part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe Investing in Rural Areas.

James Hart said: “I am delighted with the plant so far and look forward to reducing our emissions and agricultural costs while giving sustainable energy a boost.

“It should be acknowledged that the project is being delivered through the South West RDA with Defra as the managing authority and we are grateful for their help.”

Other European farmers are now considering similar projects.

Maxine Perella

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