BV Dairy looks to take a lead on anaerobic digestion

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Anaerobic digestion

A dairy processor in the UK is installing an anaerobic digestion (AD) system to convert waste into energy as the government considers how best to encourage others to follow suit.

BV Dairy is aiming to cut its carbon footprint some 65 per cent and save £150,000 a year by installing an AD system at its production site in Dorset.

The dairy processor sought the help of Clearfleau to build a liquid digester at the site and ENER·G to supply and operate the combined heat and power (CHP) technology that converts biogas from the digester into renewable energy.

Dairy UK environment manager Fergus McReynolds told that industry interest in the project is high as the system uses a new technique that increases the digesting rate and makes it more efficient. Ultimately this means that the system could have a shorter pay back time and therefore be more attractive to industry.

Environmental potential

AD certainly has great environmental potential in terms of waste treatment and renewable power generation. Dairy UK estimates that if the AD system at BV Dairy was replicated across the UK’s dairy sector some 346,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved annually.

Despite this potential AD has yet to really take-off in the UK.

“AD is a viable, proven technology that is currently under-deployed in this country compared to other parts of Europe,”​ said Scott Tamplin, business development manager-AD for ENER·G Natural Power.

The UK government is working to change that and claims that AD could produce 7.5 per cent of the renewable power in the UK by 2020.

Government incentives

Just last month the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a plan for accelerating the uptake of AD in the country.

Part of the effort involves the creation of financial incentives to encourage the market to embrace AD but other steps are also planned including some simplification of regulatory requirements and sharing of experience with other countries. To read the DEFRA plan, please click here.

Government support helped to get the BV Dairy project off the ground. Funding was provided under the WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) Environment Transformation Fund, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The AD system at BV Dairy is due to become fully operational in August. For two years after it is operational the BV Dairy project will be accessible as a demonstration site for the industrial application of AD.

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