The pictures don’t look much but this is a start of something big. Langage farm Dairy at Lee Mill has been working on a project that will see it taking a leading European role in green energy production and becoming self sufficient in power as plans for an Anaerobic Digester come together. As Langage Engineering Manager Gary Jones explains, the project has started well despite the wet weather.
‘Most of the digging is complete and the first concrete has been poured,’ said Gary. ‘By Christmas we should have all three digester tanks in place and by February, the storage tank will be ready. The whole project will be completed by May 2010 and once we have introduced the right bacteria and stored the growth of the ‘new’ bacteria, we should be in place to start in July.’
But exactly how does an Anaerobic Digester work?
‘It is like a giant cooking pot!’ said Gary spreading out the plans. ‘We take things like cow muck from our own farm, food waste from kitchens and hotels, grass cuttings, in fact anything organic and allow it to be broken down by the bacteria.’
The process seems simple enough. Sources of organic matter are brought to the digester and any packaging and non organic material is removed. Then it is macerated, as the smaller the particles are, this allows for better digestion of the bacteria and complies with animal by product regulations. The organisms which eat their way through this material produce methane gas as a by product. This can be siphoned off and used to power an engine which in turn powers an electrical generator. This will be able to run Langage Farm, both the dairy and the farm itself, and have three highly beneficial spin off’s.
‘There’ll be a lot of waste heat from this generator which we can extract and use to cook with at the factory,’ continues Gary. There should also be a slight excess of power which will go back to the National Grid. Thirdly the only waste product from the process is the organic digested material which when dried is a perfect fertilizer. So this is a truly green recycling project.’
Most of the equipment and technology is coming from Europe which is causing a major problem but Langage General Manager Paul Winterton has a clear, positive message.
‘We are doing this is to be environmentally friendly. We should be the first environmentally friendly energy centre and manufacturing farm in the UK, if not Europe. By building this plant we will be self sufficient. It is a very serious commitment and we are pushing on despite the major problem of the Euro. The exchange rate is crippling at the moment, meaning the project is costing an extra 2000 Euros a day as the bulk of the equipment is coming from Germany and Austria. But we are pressing ahead which shows the dedication of Langage to the project.
When complete, we will be processing 40 tonnes a day and then the site can offer a green alternative to land fill for local councils, hotels and other food processors to get rid of their by product.’
We will keep you fully updated on this exciting project as the months pass and look forward bringing you pictures of the plant as it develops.
For more details contact Gary Jones Engineering Manager on 07986156822 for information on the energy centre or Paul Winterton General Manger for information regarding Langage Farm on 07905597769