How farmers can get a foot hold in the energy market will be centre stage at this year’s Royal Show (Stoneleigh Park, July 3rd-6th).

Whether you reduce your carbon foot print through biomass derived fuels or generate electricity by using wind turbines or recycling waste, it all contributes to the UK’s targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Companies with alternative energy ideas will be taking part in the new Energy and Sustainability Park, at The Royal Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Co-ordinated by The British Crop Production Council (BCPC), which operates the unique New Crop Opportunities subscription web site. This new feature is a development of the successful area managed by the NNFCC (National Non Food Crop Centre) of previous years.

Centre point for the area will be an Information Bar with regular appearances of experts in each field of alternative energy ranging from anaerobic digesters to wind turbines, energy efficient boilers to thermal power.

“This is a new feature at The Royal Show, we expect that all the exhibitors will bring something new to the show and we hope to have live demonstrations of exhibitor’s equipment,” says Show Director, Simon Frere Cook.

Amongst the companies exhibiting are ICE Renewables. Its sales and marketing director Laurence Duncan says: “We are consultants and suppliers and install a range of renewable energy technology.”

One of the company’s leading products is the NorthWind 100 wind turbine, providing a cost-effective, highly effective energy source in demanding environments.

Also exhibiting are Drax Power, a coal fired power station who burn biomass material alongside coal, known as co-firing, which in turn reduces carbon dioxide. It currently supplies 7% of electricity needs to the UK.

Questions on biofuels:

Answers by Richard Crowhurst, managing director of Enagri, an online information source covering all aspects of bioenergy, energy agriculture and related areas.

1: Where do you think the industry is with bio fuels?

The biofuels industry in Europe is beaten and bloodied, but a long way off being finished. To me the farming industry is somewhat divided over biofuels, with the large organisations such as the NFU and HGCA firmly behind them, but individual farmers struggling to see how they are relevant for their business at the present time.

2: What do you think the outstanding issues with bio fuels are?

The biggest issue is the perception that they are not as green as they’ve been painted. The main problem is that the whole science and methodology of determining the carbon balance or sustainability of a process is still in itself under development.

Food production, land use (not just food versus fuel, but also development, conservation and other non-food crops) and population growth are all going to become increasingly important in global policy and biofuels has as much legitimacy in the debate as anything else.

3: Has it got a future?

Biofuels definitely have a future. First generation fuels are needed to establish the technology and markets that can then be exploited by second and third generation fuels.

The real thing the industry needs is stability. Consistency of policy is more important than arguing whether that policy should be some form of obligation or subsidy.

4: Are they the answer?

It depends on ‘the answer to what’? As a medium term tool to reduce net carbon emissions from transport and prolong fossil fuel reserves then they have a valuable role. However, even with technology like biomass-to-liquid (BTL) and algae, we won’t see them displacing all other fuels. Recent rises in commodity have shown potential investors that they are not free of risk or a licence to print money. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a future.

 

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Tickets for the Royal Show can be bought online at the Royal Show website.

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There are currently 15 confirmed exhibitors within the ESP sector that include:

  • wind turbines
  • solar panels
  • solid fuel boiler pumps
  • ground source heat pumps.

Space is still available for exhibitors