A £1.2m anaerobic digestion facility that uses heat taken from animal waste has opened in Northumberland. The system currently produces heat from the animal dung produced on Cockle Park Farm. The farm aims to use this heat to keep the pigs warm and to generate electricity to power the milking parlour.
The project run by Newcastle University aims to explore new ways in which agriculture can become more sustainable.
Project leader Dr Paul Bilsborrow said: “The plant at Cockle Park provides us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate best practice for integrating this technology within a working mixed farm. It is also an important step towards the creation of a ‘Sustainable Farm’, focused on the production and use of renewable energy.
“Anaerobic digestion offers huge potential in terms of utilizing the methane from animal waste and converting it into renewable energy which can be used to heat and power on-farm buildings.”
Anaerobic digestion is a process by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen to produce methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas which is suitable for energy production.
There are now over 50 Anaerobic Digestion plants across the country.