Biogas for agriculture in the UK

Barclays Bank in the United Kingdom has set up a fund of GBP 100 million for the financing of renewable energy projects for agriculture, which includes biogas projects. With the launch of its standard ENERGY FARMER® concept, Xergi is also ready to supply biogas technology to agriculture.

More than 37% of British farmers expect to invest in renewable energy and the majority of them expect to do this within the coming year. This is according to a survey of the 200,000 farmers living in the United Kingdom carried out by Barclays Bank. The survey has prompted Barclays to set up a fund of GBP 100 million, primarily to finance investment in renewable energy.

Alan White of Barclays' press department confirms to Biogas News that these funds can be used to finance biogas projects. - If we are presented with biogas projects, they will certainly be considered on an equal footing with other projects, says Alan White.

Launching the new ENERGY FARMER® concept

This means new opportunities for obtaining finance for new agricultural biogas projects are now available. Colin Steel, Xergi's Country Manager in the United Kingdom, is delighted at the prospect.

- We are currently launching ENERGY FARMER® which is a concept for standardised agricultural biogas plants. While Barclays and a number of other banks are now ready with the financing for renewable energy projects, we are ready with a technology to support agricultural production which is already being carried out by individual farmers, says Colin Steel.

According to Colin Steel, one of the challenges facing agricultural biogas production is achieving a sufficient return on the invested capital.

Xergi has attempted to solve this problem by designing a standard plant with an installed capacity of 500 kW.

While the digesters are built on site, the technical modules are assembled in containers in a factory. The completed technical modules are then transported to the construction site where they are connected to the pre-constructed components already built.

- This means that we are able to ensure high quality in the more sensitive technical installations as they are assembled in a factory that doesn't suffer the effects of bad weather, for example. This method also means a short construction phase which helps to reduce overall project costs, says Colin Steel.

Another argument for building a high-quality plant is to keep operations and maintenance costs down.

Grass in the digester

The northern European market especially needs biogas plants where grass forms a significant part of the biomass. This is why Xergi has designed a module for the pre-treatment of grass.

- The FLEXFEED® pre-treatment module partially breaks down the structure of the grass and ensures that the microorganisms in the digester are able to quickly convert the grass into methane, explains Colin Steel.

ENERGY FARMER® comprises the following modules:
•FLEXFEED®, which pre-treats and heats up the biomass and feeds it into the biogas reactor.
•GASMAX®, which is Xergi's premium digester technology.
•The BDM and HDM technical modules which contain pumps, valves and electrical installations.
•A CHP module for the production of electricity and heat.

Flexibility, experience and testing

ENERGY FARMER® is based on Xergi's 25 years of experience in the construction of biogas plants. The company has also tested the key parts of the concept at the world's largest biogas testing facility in Foulum in Denmark.

- With this plant we have developed a standard concept which will contribute to ensuring feasible investment levels for the farmer compared to the quality of the plant. This is also a flexible technology which enables the farmer to utilise different kinds of biomass and thereby optimise both the farm's agricultural side and its energy production. The design also allows flexibility of feedstocks should future circumstances change, says Colin Steel.

Xergi has just built the first ENERGY FARMER® plant on the island of Gotland in Sweden.

For further information please contact:

Xergi A/S, Managing Director Jørgen Ballermann, tel: +45 99 35 16 00, jba@xergi.com
Xergi Ltd, Country Manager Colin Steel, tel: +44 77 95 23 15 99, cst@xergi.com

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