BioG UK is seeking growers to grow energy crops for biogas, offering them an alternative break crop in the rotation.
The company, a subsidiary of an Austrian concern behind the technology, was also seeking sites for 500kW-1MW anaerobic digester plants.
“A typical 500kW AD plant needs about 120ha of feed crops, such as maize, within a 10-mile radius,” explained director Rob Greenow. “We would provide the plant and the capital to set it up, while typically a group of farmers would provide the site and supply the crop.”
Land could be rented out for growing the crop for £370-500/ha, or the crop would be contract-grown, with a typical return of £1,375/ha. “We’re not aiming to compete with wheat, but it would work well in a rotation.”
This provided around three-fifths of the AD plant feedstock, combined with slurry, food and green waste sourced by BioG for its patented Energy Ring design plant. Around 8,000t/year of digestate by-product, with a typical NPK nutrient value of 4:4:4, could then be spread on the land.
The plant itself needed a 0.8ha (2-acre) site, which would be rented for about £10,000-20,000 a year. “The unique thing about us is that we would provide all the capital investment for the £2.5m plant, or we could enter a joint venture if the farmers wanted to invest.”
Although BioG UK has only been operating for one year and has only one UK plant currently under construction, technical expertise and back up is provided by its seven-year-old Austrian parent. Ten other UK plants are in planning, which takes around three months, while plant construction takes another six. The company’s target is to open eight sites a year.