Caroline Flint MP visited Vulcan Renewables in Hatfield Woodhouse this week to give her backing to biogas – home grown gas to heat our homes. Vulcan Renewables is located on a farm and is partnership with 40 local farmers.
The Don Valley MP then joined around 150 farmers in the House of Commons to raise awareness of on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD).
Said Caroline: “It was great to meet Willie and Lynda MacIntosh owners of Huggin Farm, Hatfield Woodhouse who have created a brilliant partnership with Future Biogas. People think of gas coming from the North Sea, but nearly half is imported from places like Russia and Qatar. It is examples like Vulcan Renewables here on Huggin Farm that prove that we can produce home grown, green gas to heat our homes. AD is a way to support farmers by diversifying their income, treating wastes more sustainably, recycling nutrients and providing green energy. It extracts more value from farm wastes and break/cover crops than any alternative, and generates a flexible form of energy which can be used as electricity, heat, gas or vehicle fuel. This project involves farmers across a ten mile radius.
“This site alone produces enough gas to heat 3,000 homes in the coldest months, and 30,000 homes in the warmer months. This is a growing industry, with the potential to be heating millions of homes, but we need the Government to get behind this exciting technology, so we can produce local, cleaner, greener fuel and reduce our dependence on gas from abroad.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) technology offers a number of energy and other benefits:
- Flexible biogas – generated round the clock, farmers can use biogas from anaerobic digestion as tractor fuel, combust it to produce electricity and heat for on-site use, or sell it to the gas/electricity grid.
- Energy security – an indigenous source of energy reduces the UK’s reliance on energy from less stable parts of the world.
- Improved food production – the nutrient-rich bio fertiliser by-product from an anaerobic digester ensures that vital nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and organic matter are recycled back into our soils. Healthy soils mean improved crop yields and better quality produce.
- Local jobs – the industry currently employs 4,000 people but has the potential to employ a further 30,000, many in rural areas.
- Carbon abatement –AD is vital for decarbonising farming, heat and transport.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association , added:
“Caroline Flint MP’s support is hugely important to realise the potential for on-farm anaerobic digestion. A doubling of plant numbers to 172 over the last two years alone highlights the growing recognition amongst farmers of the benefit of integrating AD into their businesses, but new developers still face challenges.
“Farmers who took the plunge over the past few years are benefiting from the technology’s contribution towards improving farming resilience, generating vital baseload energy, improving food production through sustainable crop rotation and nutrient-rich bio fertiliser, and decarbonising their farm, heat and transport networks. Many more farmers want to follow suit.
“In their recommendations for the fifth Carbon Budget, the Committee on Climate Change has also highlighted the contribution that is needed from on-farm AD if the UK is to meet its carbon targets.
“While the government has increased its support for the generation of indigenous biomethane gas, this incentive scheme is currently only viable for larger plants. We risk missing the opportunity to support the growth of a smaller-scale UK industry which could export agricultural technology to the world.”