Posted 4 August 2010
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Don Leiper, Dr David Llewellyn and John Ibbett make the first cut into the ground.
Harper Adams University College is expanding its commitment to sustainable energy with work due to start this week on a £3million-plus renewable power system at its Shropshire campus.
The anaerobic digester at Harper Adams in Edgmond, near Newport has been in planning for two-and-a-half-years and the turf cutting ceremony today brings together all the major partners including BiogenGreenfinch, which is designing the plant, energy company E.ON, and local contractor Adonis Construction.
The plant is expected to be generating heat and power from farm and food waste by the end of March 2011 and is anticipated to offset campus carbon emissions more than three times over. It will also create jobs and everyone from farmers to primary school pupils will be able to find out more about renewable energy technology from the site.
Harper Adams is just one of three higher education institutions in England to have won a share of £10 million set aside for “transformational” projects under the Revolving Green Fund- which was set up by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Salix Finance.
Principal of Harper Adams, David Llewellyn, said: “We are incredibly pleased that Harper Adams has been able to use this funding to make its AD plans a reality and we are excited to be here with partners today to finally start work on the site.
“Food and farm waste can be digested in the AD unit and recycled into three useful by-products instead of being left to degrade in landfill or elsewhere, leaking methane into the atmosphere. Biogas will fuel a unit producing both heat and power meaning we will be sheltered from fluctuating energy prices for at least the next 10 years and will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for our campus.”
Other products of the process are a liquid fertiliser and compost, which can be used for the University College’s farm and grounds operations, reducing reliance on manufactured fertilisers. This will, in effect, bring the Harper Adams food chain full circle.
Don Leiper, Managing Director of E.ON’s Energy Services business, said: “The way we create and use energy is changing and projects like this will help us develop new, sustainable energy solutions for the future.
“Smaller, community scale, renewable energy projects such as this have two benefits; they provide a secure, reliable and low carbon energy supply whilst also making use of a valuable waste resource that would otherwise be sent to landfill.”
The Harper Adams AD plant will demonstrate how farmers and other business people can diversify and use by-products of their existing work to generate power and an additional source of income.
John Ibbett, Chairman of BiogenGreenfinch said: “It was during my own student days at Harper Adams that I first caught the vision for the commercial potential of AD. Some 28 years later, it gives me enormous pride to now be part of the fulfilment of that vision on the very doorstep of the college.
More details about the scheme can be obtained from Estates and Facilities Manager, Paul Moran, who made the bid to the Revolving Green Fund. He said: “This facility will help to address the huge waste of food in our region, businesses’ who are interested can contact me on (01952) 815266.