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Savvy UK farmers are getting creative and using a wacky solution to run their farms and beyond – by turning slurry from poo to power.
The recent gas crisis has seen worldwide prices soar and with concerns about the cost of supplies rampant, there’s never been more need to find sustainable and reliable sources of power.
Wind and solar solutions have been Brits’ historical method but with demand for alternative options soaring, the upscaling of anaerobic digestion sites could be a game-changer.
An innovative group of farmers from dairy cooperative Arla are now hoping to blaze a trail by turning cow poo into cow power to run their farms.
They’ve created AA rechargeable ‘Cow Patteries’ to spearhead Britain’s renewable energy solution and Neil Ridgway, a farmer at the cooperative, believes the outside-the-box solution could be a watershed moment.
He said: “There is so much potential for innovations such as anaerobic digestion to contribute to the UK’s renewable energy needs whilst reducing farm emissions with something readily available on our farms – poo.
“On my farm, we already use the energy produced from cow slurry to power our entire estate, but this could go so much further.
“We are even able to use the by-product of the process as a natural fertiliser on our land and thereby closing the loop – it’s a win-win situation.
“My farm already produces enough cow poo power to keep the lights on across my business and the local community, helping us on our way to becoming carbon net zero.
“I’d love to be buying cow patteries in the future as they really highlight the potential in this natural resource. With the right support and infrastructure, maybe we could turn that possibility into reality.”
Cow slurry is consistent, reliable and has the transformational potential to play a very real part in how we reach our net zero targets by turning it into a source of green gas.
And the process also has the added benefit of generating a by-product that can be used as a natural fertiliser – enabling farmers to enrich the land and close the loop on their farm.
With over 1.2m tonnes of cow slurry available in the UK each year from Arla’s 2,240 farms alone, the farmer-owned cooperative could generate enough green energy to power four per cent of UK households.
And Arla’s 460,000 cows could also provide enough power each year to fuel over 1.2m homes, with a single Arla cow’s yearly poo providing enough power to run three UK households.
Graham Wilkinson, Group Agriculture Director at Arla, added: “Arla is committed to sustainable farming and reducing emissions from food production.
“Our farmers are constantly exploring innovative solutions and following our poo-powered transport trials last year, it’s clear we have only just scratched the surface.
“Poo that can be turned into power that has the potential to make a considerable contribution to Britain’s renewable energy quota.
“If the Government and the energy industry could see the potential, the scaling up of cow power could be a game-changer for the UK’s renewable energy supply whilst also helping reduce emissions in farming.”
To find out more about Arla’s renewable energy initiatives, visit the Arla website http://www.arlafoods.co.uk