31st May 2016

Small-scale anaerobic digestion plant benefits Kent farmers

Kent farmers, Clive and Richard Apps are experiencing the benefits of a new revenue stream and source of sustainable energy through small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD), with the recent completion of their AD plant.


The on-farm AD technology from AD4Energy Ltd has enabled them to continue to grow and expand their business, due to the income created through the Feed in Tariff (FiTs). Not only is there money coming into the farm but expenditure on energy bills is being reduced by the plants ability to produced renewable electricity and heat.


Four Barns, a 200kW AD plant, running on Maize, is consistently performing between 95-100% total possible output. Around 17,000m³ of biogas is being produced a week, indicating the digester is biologically healthy.



Richard Apps, from Four Barns AD plant stated the following:


“There is no doubt that without the AD plant the business would not be able to sustain current levels of employment with the low commodity prices.


Economically, the plant is extremely beneficial to the business’ financial health… Fundamentally we can budget on our return and avoid some of the risk from the heavily volatile markets, which the agricultural industry faces today.


As our plant runs on 100% energy crop, it has given us two extra crops to our rotation. This is one of the few weapons we have to fight against an ever increasing blackgrass problem… The larger variety of crops in our rotation has allowed us to decrease the blackgrass seed bank in the soil and still gain a good margin per hectare.


Due to the size of our plant we are really excited about spreading the nutrient-rich digestate onto our land… It will help to dramatically boost organic matter in the soil as well as considerably reducing our compound fertiliser bill.”



This article was first featured in Energy Now‘s Magazine – May/June 2016 Edition (Issue 53)

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