By-products to power households

27 June 2001

By-products to power households

By Shelley

SCOTLANDS farmers could soon receive a 10m income boost supplying
previously worthless animal by-products to produce electricity and biodiesel.

English-based firm Argent is looking to secure planning approval for a 20
million development at its Motherwell rendering plant.

If granted it could produce enough electricity from meat and bonemeal (MBM)
to power 5,000 households. Biodiesel would be produced from tallow.

BSE controls introduced in 1996 destroyed the market for both products,
leading to an estimated by-product loss of 17 for every beast slaughtered.

Argent managing director Andrew Hunter hopes that this amount – a total of
10m – can be recovered if the plant opens as planned at the end of next year.

Argents rendering plant already produces about half Scotlands MBM and the
firm also has rendering facilities in the south of England and Wales.

Mr Hunter praised the co-operation and determination from the Scottish
Executive and National Farmers Union Scotland to push the scheme forward.

But efforts to discuss similar schemes in England and Wales received little
support from Whitehall and the Welsh Assembly, he claimed.

“Scotland is the only place where this could have happened,”
insisted Mr Hunter.

Argent director Doug Ward said in was impossible meet with the right people
in Whitehall, while negotiating with Wales was like “entering a black

Presently MBM is put in landfill sites which is not an acceptable, long-term
solution, said Jim Walker, president of NFU Scotland.

Mr Hunter added: “We can now offer to restore some value to animal
by-products, solve some of the waste management problems, and produce a
sustainable, clean and renewable source of energy.”

All the MBM produced at Motherwell will be burned in a totally enclosed,
purpose-built unit, with the energy sold to the National Grid.

Burning about 3.5tonnes of MBM an hour will yield almost 3.00MW of

Tallow will be blended with recovered vegetable oil and processed to produce
about 45,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year.


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