3-MW on-farm AD facility opens in the UK

By Tamar Energy | March 27, 2014

A new anaerobic digestion (AD) facility that turns organic waste into green energy for thousands of homes was opened March 20 in Retford, Nottinghamshire, by the Rt Hon Greg Barker MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change.

As the UK’s largest on-farm AD facility to date, the 3 MW AD facility will take agricultural waste, manures and maize from local suppliers in nearby areas of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire.  The biogas is converted on-site to generate renewable electricity, enough for as many as 6,000 homes, and exported to the national grid.     

The Retford facility is a joint venture between Tamar Energy and Sutton Grange Anaerobic Digestion, a company established by Fred Walter and Mark Paulson. It is situated on Fred Walter’s 2,500 acre family farm in Nottinghamshire, and is the latest in Tamar Energy’s rapidly expanding U.K.-wide AD network.  

Barker was given a tour of the new facility by Tamar Energy’s Chairman Alan Lovell, where he heard about how the AD facility extracts the inherent energy value of chicken litter, amongst other feedstock, before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the plant as electricity generation started earlier in the month.

The AD process also creates a nutrient-rich biofertilizer, which can be used in agriculture in place of costly fossil fuel-based fertilizers. In addition, heat generated will be used to dry woodchips for sale to the Drax biomass power station in North Yorkshire.

Greg Barker MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, said, “Energy from waste is an essential part of the energy mix, it’s a win-win – helping to drive low carbon energy and helping reduce bills for hardworking consumers. Tamar Energy’s new Anaerobic Digestion plant is the largest facility of its kind in the UK and is a great example of how waste can be used to powering homes and businesses across the country. That’s why we have put a range of financial incentives in place to encourage other organizations to rise to the challenge.”

Alan Lovell, Chairman, Tamar Energy, added, “Having Greg Barker here today to officially open our first Midlands facility is a clear sign of the government’s commitment to supporting AD. It recognizes the obvious benefits that the technology can bring to the UK’s renewable energy mix. The Retford facility makes a significant contribution to our plan for a flexible national network generating energy from a wide range of organic material, while fulfilling the long-held ambition of Fred Walter and Mark Paulson for an AD plant at Sutton Grange”.

Tamar Energy now has three operational AD plants, two plants in construction and a number of other sites in the advanced stages of development, with the aim of a national network of AD facilities generating 100 MW of renewable energy.