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Ribble Valley farmers to use cow manure to generate electricity
8:00pm Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
WASTE not, want not.
Ribble Valley farms will use cow manure to generate a renewable supply of electricity.
Work has started at Wilcross Farm in Gisburn on an ‘anaerobic digestion’ plant which will break down livestock waste and crops to generate electricity.
Kirk Environmental is building the plant at the Skipton Old Road farm, which will be one of only 46 in the UK.
It will include a 3,000m³ concrete digestion tank, complete with a 1,430m³ ‘biodome’.
The manure treated at the plant will come from a total of four farms close by, including Wilcross Farm, Watt Close Farm, Yarlside Farm and Lane Ends Farm.
Susan and John Wallbank, who live at WIlcross Farm, have been planning the AD plant for around six years after a trip to Europe inspired them to think about alternative uses for their farm land.
Susan said: “It’s been so long in the planning stages because we wanted to make sure we got everything right.
“We’re really looking forward to getting it up and running.
“I’ve never seen an AD plant in this country and it’s very exciting to think we’ll be doing something completely different with our crops.”
The AD process begins when biomass (food waste, slurry, manure or crops) is put into a sealed tank.
As the biomass digests, it releases methane gas which can be used to generate renewable heat and power, reducing green house emissions and cutting reliance on fossil fuels.
The left-over biomass is also so rich in nutrients that it can be used to fertilise the farm land.
When the plant is completed, it will allow for all the forage produced at the farms, together with the slurry provided by their cattle, expected to be around 10,000 tonnes per annum, to be treated in the digester.
This will create a total of 500Kw of renewable electricity which will be exported to the National Grid.
The project will take around six months to complete and work begins this week.
Councillor Richard Sherras, who represents the area, said: “There was some unease in the village about this and people were concerned, particularly with regards to odour and noise.
“However, Ribble Valley Council have done everything to ensure that all the relevant checks and surveys have been completed so that these problems don’t occur.”
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