North Wales on-farm AD plant first to obtain ABP approval

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Lodge Farm Biogas, whose farm is home to fre-energy’s first Anaerobic Digestion plant, has become the first on-farm AD facility to have been granted Animal-By Products approval by Defra.

Located on the outskirts of Wrexham, North Wales, Lodge Farm was also the first farm in the UK to receive payment of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive earlier this year. The 160kW fre-energy AD plant has been operating uninterrupted for over five years, processing some 9000 tonnes of slurry and manure from its 650 dairy cows each year alongside around 1800 tonnes of chicken litter.

ABP approval allows the plant to receive and process Category 3 and permitted Category 2 animal by-products for which Lodge Farm Biogas is now in the final stages of agreeing supply contracts with food manufacturing companies primarily located on the nearby Industrial Estate. The addition of ABP feedstocks will further increase the energy output of the plant whilst also enhancing the nutrient content of the solid and liquid digestates which are produced by the AD process and applied to the surrounding farmland as fertiliser.

The fre-energy Digester generates a reliable and constant production of energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a generation capacity of 160kW of electricity and 200kW of heat. In addition to the small amount of energy consumed to power the plant, around one fifth of the electricity and 50kW of heat are used on site to power the farm buildings, on-site engineering business, artisan shops and fre-energy’s office.

Surplus electricity is exported to the National Grid - sufficient to supply around eighy houses - and is eligible for the Feed in Tariff. As some of the energy is utilised as heat Lodge Farm Biogas is also eligible to receive income under the Renewable Heat Incentive that pays a fixed fee for every kilowatt of heat produced. These payments, which are guaranteed at a fixed rate for a twenty year period, are made by the UK Government with the specific purpose to reward the use of alternative renewable energy sources to fossil fuels.

The design of the fre-energy plant, as used at Lodge Farm, is unique in being able to continually process grit-laden waste materials. Chris Morris, Technical Director of fre-energy, says, “We have developed unique technology, for which worldwide patents have been granted, to enable farms to process their animal slurry, which would otherwise have to be disposed of. Although AD plants are in use on thousands of farms elsewhere in Europe, none of these plants have been designed to deal with the problems associated with processing animal waste and many are therefore beginning to fail. As farmers ourselves, we have developed technology that has already proven itself on several farms around the UK.”