LODGE Farm Biogas Limited, whose farm is home to Fre-energy’s first Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant, has become the first on-farm AD facility to have been granted Animal-By Products (ABP) approval by Defra.
Located on the outskirts of Wrexham, North Wales, Lodge Farm was also the first farm in the UK to receive payment of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive earlier in 2014. The 160kW Fre-energy AD plant has been operating uninterrupted for over 5 years, processing some 9,000 tonnes of slurry and manure from its 650 dairy cows each year alongside around 1,800 tonnes of chicken litter.
ABP approval allows the plant to receive and process Category 3 and permitted Category 2 animal by-products for which Lodge Farm Biogas is now in the final stages of agreeing supply contracts with food manufacturing companies primarily located on the nearby Industrial Estate. The addition of ABP feedstocks will further increase the energy output of the plant whilst also enhancing the nutrient content of the solid and liquid digestates which are produced by the AD process and applied to the surrounding farmland as fertiliser.
The design of the plant at Lodge Farm is apparently unique in being able to continually process grit-laden waste materials. Chris Morris, Technical Director of Fre-energy, said: “We have developed unique technology, for which worldwide patents have been granted, to enable farms to process their animal slurry, which would otherwise have to be disposed of. Although AD plants are in use on thousands of farms elsewhere in Europe, none of these plants have been designed to deal with the problems associated with processing animal waste and many are therefore beginning to fail. As farmers ourselves, we have developed technology that has already proven itself on several farms around the UK.”