The first phase of a £3m anaerobic digestion biogas plant has begun production on a farm in Staffordshire.
The Combined Heat & Power plant at Lower Reule will produce about 1.3MW of power for the National Grid from 15,000t of waste each year. The main feedstock is food waste from a local council kerbside collection, supermarkets and food manufacturers. The plant will also process 1000t of pig slurry and 1250t of maize silage each year from the 500-acre farm.
A number of options are being considered for the heat produced. It may be used to heat the farm’s strawberry tunnels to extend the growing season, or could be used to grow asparagus on heated beds or to dry woodchip for the biomass industry.
“The AD plant offers a very exciting diversification opportunity for the farm,” said Ian Critchley, director of Lower Reule Bioenergy.
“Not only do we have products to use and sell in the form of power and biofertiliser, we also have excess heat available to extend our existing strawberry business or possibly set up another enterprise.”
A £750,000 grant from the Waste & Resources Action Programme supported the building of the plant and a second phase of development to increase the waste processing capacity to 30,000t will start next month, due to be completed in October 2010.