UK’s first excrement energy station

Devon cows are to become pioneering suppliers of energy to the UK’s first dung-fired power plant – the £7.7 million plant came into operation late last week.

Holsworthy Biogas plant, in North Devon, takes dung from animals from around 30 farms and uses it to generate 2100 kilowatts of electricity per week for the local area.

The plant runs seven days a week collecting 320 tonnes of slurry and 80 tonnes of food waste per day. The waste is fermented for three weeks, generating methane to fuel gas-fired generators – the electricity is fed into the national grid producing enough power to light around 900 homes.

The plant was half funded by a European Union grant with the rest of the money coming from the German biotechnology company Farmatic.

Biogas is less of a unique power source in Europe, where there are about 20 operating dung-fuelled power stations already in operation in Germany and Denmark.

The initial complaints about the smell from Holsworthy locals have died out, Holsworthy plant manager Graham Johnston told edie. The community is now more accepting of this cheaper, environmentally friendly electricity.

Farmatic plans to build more biogas power stations in the UK given that they have been popular in Europe. According to Johnston, the next plant, in what is hoped to be a series of waste-powered plants across the UK, is expected to come into operation in Fivemiletown, Northern Ireland.

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