United Utilities (UU) has announced plans to inject green gas directly into the grid at its Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant in Trafford. The sludge digestion centre at the plant currently produces biogas which is used in a combined heat and power plant to generate electricity. However, UU now wants to introduce a process that cleans the biogas to produce green gas which can be injected directly into the grid. The scheme should be up and running, with gas going into supply, this spring. UU will lay a new gas pipe which will connect into an existing gas network near Trafford Retail Park. Meanwhile, at the treatment works itself, a cleaning plant is being built to make sure the biogas is pure enough to be injected into the gas grid.
Renewables – promoted so vigorously to the rural sector as a land of opportunity and social responsibility – have lost much of their gloss, not least because of rates for Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) for solar and onshore wind being slashed, degression across Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) rates for biomass, and the end of the Green Deal. So, is the show over for on-farm renewables? ‘No’ is the qualified answer here from Shirley Mathieson, Head of Renewables at accountants Saffery Champness, in her sector-by-sector renewables summary. Despite aggressive Government cuts there remains some opportunities for investment in the renewables sector. Support is fluid and decisions concerning the sector remain open to change. With target UK climate change obligations to meet, this could mean further opportunities arising particularly where new technologies are involved.
In the days of Thomas Hardy, west country folk used to head to the moors and commons to cut the furze (or gorse) for kindling. More than 100 years on, a project has been launched to harvest another crop to keep the home fires burning. Backed with public money, a company has been formed to harvest bracken to create briquettes that it claims burn longer and more fiercely than oak in fireplaces and stoves. In addition, they argue that they are helping control a fast-growing plant that can choke other flora, thus helping to increase biodiversity. Said to be the first time ever that a biomass fuel has been created out of bracken on a commercial scale, the project has won the support of dairy farmer – and Glastonbury founder – Michael Eavis.
Green energy supplier Ecotricity will develop its third Green Gas Mill in Somerset, the company announced yesterday. The 3MW thermal site will generate carbon neutral gas for the national grid from the anaerobic digestion (AD) of grass and is anticipated to deliver enough energy to power up to 2,500 homes. The company said the new mill will use locally-sourced grass from non-food producing land, while also delivering a natural fertiliser for local farmers. “Making green gas from grass doesn’t compete with food production, it actually supports it and the farmers working the land,” Vince added. “It also helps wildlife, creating new habitats – and there’s enough non-food producing farmland in Britain in principle to meet 95 per cent of the gas we need this way.”
The UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) generation capacity has passed the 500MW milestone, according to the latest figures from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA). The trade body yesterday revealed 514MW of electrical equivalent capacity is generated as electricity or biogas from more than 400 AD plants across the farming, waste, and water sectors. “ADBA’s market data now shows that AD offers over 500MWe electrical equivalent capacity – more capacity than one of the UK’s nuclear power plants, Wylfa, which is being decommissioned this year,” she said. “This capacity is extremely valuable because AD generates low carbon baseload or dispatchable power, helping to keep the lights on and balance the output from intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.” However, the body warned that a government decision to remove the Levy Exemption Certificates (LEC) that allowed renewable power to avoid the Climate Change Levy imposed on businesses could cost the industry up to £11m, while a review of the pre-accreditation for the feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidy scheme could hamper further growth. “To continue to expand, the industry needs viable support in the forthcoming FiT review, and an Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget that will support new green gas,” Morton said. “AD has the potential to meet 30 per cent of UK domestic gas demand, and overall it could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent and support food security and production.”
A college in Hampshire has teamed up with green energy supplier Ecotricity to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) mill on campus, it was announced yesterday. Sparsholt College has announced its intention to build a Green Gas Mill after receiving support from clean energy company Ecotricity and a grant from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. Ecotricity said the 6MW plant will convert locally harvested grass into carbon neutral green gas, providing enough energy to supply renewable heat to almost 5,000 homes each year. The gas created will be used to supply both the college and local residents. The AD plant would be the latest in a series of green developments from the college, which has already installed a rooftop solar array and last year submitted plans to build a 500KW wind turbine at its site. Tim Jackson, college principal, said the development would put the college at “the centre of what is the future of gas generation in Britain”.
Although Anaerobic Digestion has been around for decades, many farmers have not heard of it. This article looks at both the process and the main advantages of anaerobic digestion.
First Milk, one of the UK’s largest cheese creameries, has announced the completion of the first phase of construction of a bio-energy plant at its dairy factory in Cumbria. Once operational in early 2016, the plant will generate 1000m3 of biogas a day from waste dairy residue. Some bio-methane will be used in the creamery for steam generation, reducing the factory’s annual energy cost by 25%, providing around 40m kwh a year and saving 7,000 tonnes of carbon. The rest of the gas will be sent into the grid, making the Cumbria factory the first dairy processing site in Europe to deliver biogas to the grid.
A Waitrose dairy farm in Hampshire is now generating its own renewable energy after installing a 186 KWp solar array on the roof of a milk parlour. Waitrose’s Leckford Estate farm expects the array to save around 7 tonnes of CO2 annually and provide enough energy to power the equivalent of 40 local houses. Hampshire solar firm Hive Energy will supply the installation at no upfront cost to Leckford Estate thanks to a power-purchasing agreement. Hive will recoup its investment through revenue from the Feed-in Tariff.
A private preparatory school in Stratford-upon-Avon has cut the ribbon on a new biomass boiler that will slash its carbon emissions and its energy bills, without paying any upfront costs. The Croft School installed a new boiler through Forest Fuels’ “fully funded” scheme. The boiler is expected to generate 700MWh of heat, avoiding 20,000 kilograms of carbon emissions per year.