Dr David Kaner, CEO of Advanced Anaerobics Limited (AAL), writes: There are no new ideas, only old ideas whose time has come. Today, farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) offers an attractive solution for meat and dairy farmers seeking ways to address increasing environmental pressures and sky-high energy costs. The payback on investment can look good without uncertain subsidy support. Treatment of manures and slurries on the farm offers a serious step towards the decarbonization of agriculture. The biogas produced in the process can power the farm.
Then things get complicated. Should I get a large plant, grow energy crops and export power to the grid? Should I stay small, process my on-farm wastes and generate just enough energy for the farm? Should I use biogas to generate electricity or is upgrading to bio-CNG a better bet? How can I be sure that a new technology will prove reliable for the next 20 years? Will today’s perfect solution still fit my business in the future as it evolves in a changing world? Do I have the expertise on the farm to run a modern gas plant?
AAL has launched its ‘Clean Farming’ concept. The aim is to provide a reliable solution tailored to the individual needs of each farm as a turnkey project. AAL doesn’t accept that one size fits all. Rather, it looks at the farm business to understand its specific waste and energy needs. It considers the farmer’s plans for the future and the economic reality of food production in a global market. This may not be the time for risky innovations. Rather, AAL seeks to repurpose proven products from a growing network of technology companies backed by established reference plants across Europe.
Today’s idea is an anaerobic digestion system fully integrated into the operation of each farm, providing a decisive reduction in the environmental footprint of primary food production. Critically, a ‘Clean Farming’ solution from AAL also aims to increase farm profits in uncertain times. The outcome will be sustainability that pays for itself.