Greener gas will offer opportunities for local farmers

A new renewable energy plant in Burton Agnes is on track to start producing greener gas by the end of the year and is now offering new opportunities for local farmers to get involved.

The anaerobic digester, located on the Burton Agnes Estate, is being developed in partnership between the Dewhirst and Cunliffe-Lister families under the banner of Burton Agnes Renewables Ltd.

The plant will produce bio-methane from agricultural products such as maize, wheat straw and pig and poultry manures. Some of the bio-methane will be burnt in a generator to power the site, but the majority will be injected into the national gas network and consumed by homes and businesses in the East Riding.

The site will produce around 3.5 million cubic metres of bio-methane annually, enough gas to supply 2,450 homes – contributing to the UK government’s renewable energy targets.

Simon Cunliffe-Lister of Burton Agnes Estate and business partner of Burton Agnes Renewables Ltd, told the Driffield & Wolds Weekly: “The construction of the site is going very well. We are on target to start producing bio-methane by the end of the year. “We are grateful for the support of the local community and their understanding and acceptance of how the site will be operating.

“We have established a community liaison group, involving representatives from the village, a planning officer and environment officer.

“During the construction and first year of operation, the group is meting quarterly to discuss the project and any points raised by the community.”

Rick Dewhirst, who has taken on the role of Managing Director of the site, added: “The AD plant will be an asset to the local area. It will enhance business for other local farmers who can benefit from the opportunity to grow energy crops for the plant and receive digestate, which is a byproduct of the digestion process and a valuable fertiliser.”

The site will consume around 30,000 tonnes of energy crops per year, the majority of which is being supplied by the farms of the partners, however local farmers are being offered the chance to get involved.

“We are looking for more local farmers to grow maize and hybrid rye for the site. We receive a government backed fixed income for the gas we produce, which will allow us to offer farmers a fixed price for these crops,” added Mr Dewhirst.

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