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CO2Sense provides vital investment for farm-based renewable energy project

January 17th, 2013 | 1:55 pm

A business set up by father and son farmers and a renewable energy developer has received £450,000 investment to develop an onsite 250kW anaerobic digestion (AD) plant from Yorkshire-based low-carbon expert consultancy, CO2Sense. 

Cumbrian farmers, Phillip and James Stanley, identified AD technology as a means to diversify their farm business and generate an additional consistent income stream. The new company called Stanley Renewable Energy ltd has been set up in partnership with AD specialists, JFS & Associates, to build, own and operate the plant. The business approached CO2Sense to provide a significant portion of the necessary capital to kick-start the project.

The AD project will run on grass silage and farm yard manures generated by the farm. It is expected that the plant, which will become fully operational in the autumn of 2013, will have the capacity to produce around 2 million kWh of electricity each year, enough to power 450 homes. The digestate produced will be used as a soil improver on the farms own land.

Jemma Benson, Principal Consultant at CO2Sense, says:

“Investment in renewables is an effective way for farmers to generate new consistent income streams. Through Anaerobic Digestion farmers can manage and recycle their waste in way that is environmentally friendly, beneficial to their land and makes money through the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff.

“CO2Sense has invested over £11 million in renewable energy projects across the UK and we are witnessing a growing demand for investment in AD projects, particularly from businesses in agricultural and food industries, which have organic feedstocks”.

Peter Johnson, from JFS & Associates, says:

“This is the first of five farm projects we will complete in 2013 totalling £9 million of development. Our aim is to offer farmers a genuine joint venture opportunity. We were not interested in building a large-scale power plant in the countryside or radically altering the way they have farmed for generations. Our plants are sized and designed to dovetail into the existing farm business with as little change as possible. The Stanley family embraced this approach and we are all very excited about project. We are already discussing possible farm diversification projects that will use the waste heat from the plant.Being an organic farm James and Philip are particularly keen on using the digestate (bio-fertiliser) that the plant will produce, with predicted yield increases of cira 20%”.

In addition to AD, CO2Sense also invests and advises on biomass, heat networks and all forms of renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency and waste projects.  For more information on CO2Sense’s investment fund please contact jemma.benson@co2sense.co.uk.

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