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    Biomass Energy Pioneers

    Posted 10 January 2005

    Harper Adams University College and Talbott’s Heating Ltd will spearhead an innovative new green energy project in rural Shropshire. Talbott’s Heating Ltd of Stafford will develop a new and efficient micro-turbine biomass generator, capable of producing 100 kWh of renewable electricity and 150 kWh of renewable heat with funding from the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry). The generator will be installed at Harper Adams University College later next year to demonstrate crop production through to energy use. The University Colleges commercial farm business will help provide energy crops for the BG100 generator through DEFRA’s Energy Crops Scheme. Additional fuel will be sourced from local farm businesses, and research will allow these to be tested for energy production in addition to wood, short rotation coppice, and energy crops such as Miscanthus.

    Andrea Humphries, Business Development Manager for the Sustainable Technologies Network based at Harper Adams University College said: “We hope demonstration of this biomass generator will encourage West Midlands rural enterprises to adopt the technology. A series of events are planned once the plant is fully operational providing reliable advice, assistance and networking opportunities”. Keith Chaney, Head of the Crops Group at Harper Adams University College, said: “Farming and the rural economy has been under sustained pressure with profit margins greatly reduced compared to the 1990’s. The sector needs to identify new and sustainable income streams, moving away from commodity production and identify new ways of adding value to products. Adoption of the biomass generator will achieve this, using locally grown fuel and retaining money within the rural economy that would otherwise be spent on imported fuels”.

    Bob Talbott, Chairman of Talbott's Heating Ltd adds: “Working with a well respected agricultural college such as Harper Adams will allow this viable option for farm diversification to be made more widely known within the agricultural community. It will make further development of the biomass generator possible as well as investigating the feasibility of using different types of crops as fuels.”

    It is envisaged that the majority of units will be installed on farms, and large estates where there is a ready supply of fuel or where energy crops are going to be grown. Revenue can be generated through the sale of electricity back to the National Grid and from Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). The system will be designed to run without constant supervision enabling farmers to operate their own systems and maximise their income.

    The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollutions recommends the UK should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent of current levels by 2050. Biomass combustion is considered carbon neutral as only carbon dioxide originally removed from the atmosphere is returned during combustion. It is estimated that each BG100 will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 264 tonnes each year. This is in line with key Government legislation.

    For more information contact Andrea Humphries at Harper Adams University College on 01952 815327 or Jenny Key at Talbott’s Heating Ltd on 01785 213366.

    Photographs are available from Talbott’s Heating Ltd.

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