MBM power to boost Scots?

29 June 2001

MBM power to boost Scots?

By Shelley Wright

Scotland correspondent

SCOTLANDS farmers could, within 18 months, boost their incomes by up to £10m by providing the raw material to supply enough electricity to power the equivalent of 5000 households or a 1000-bed hospital.

At the same time, if English-based firm Argent secures planning approval for a £20m development at its Motherwell rendering plant, not only will electricity be produced from meat-and-bonemeal, but biodiesel will also be manufactured from tallow.

BSE controls introduced in 1996 destroyed the market for MBM and tallow. Since then, the loss in this animal by-product market for farmers is estimated to be worth about £17 for every cattle beast slaughtered.

Argent managing director, Andrew Hunter, hopes that the £17/head can be recovered when the plant opens for business at the end of next year. That, says Mr Hunter, could boost Scottish livestock farmers revenue by up to £10m a year.

The firms rendering plant produces about half Scotlands MBM.

Argent also has rendering facilities in the south of England and in Wales. "But Scotland is the only place where this could have happened," said Mr Hunter.

Co-operation and determination from the Scottish Executive and NFU Scotland to drive the project forward were not reflected elsewhere in Britain.

According to Doug Ward, director of animal by-products for Argent, finding the right people to talk to in Whitehall was impossible, while trying to do business with the Welsh Assembly was "like entering a black hole".

"At the moment, MBM is put in landfill sites which is not an acceptable solution," says Jim Walker, NFU Scotland president.

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

Burning about 3.5tonnes of MBM an hour will yield almost 3.00mW of electricity/hour, enough for 5000 homes.

Tallow will be blended with vegetable oil and processed to produce about 45,000t of biodiesel a year. &#42

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