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22 Jul 2011 12:07:14

Lord Henley opens Cockle Park anaerobic digester

Lord Henley cutting the ribbon at Cockle Park anaerobic digestion plant
Environment Minister cuts the ribbon on new anaerobic digestion plant in Northumberland, which makes renewable electricity from pig slurry.

The £1.2 million Cockle Park Farm anaerobic digestion plant was opened yesterday in front of a large crowd of onlookers, including our very own head of biomass and biogas Lucy Hopwood.

"Livestock waste is currently an underutilised resource but offers huge potential to deliver renewable energy and fuel security to hundreds of farms across the UK," she said following the opening.

"New government incentives are making it more cost effective for farms to install their own anaerobic digesters and the opening of the Cockle Park anaerobic digester is another promising step towards delivering our targets from the Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan."

The NNFCC sit on the steering group for the Cockle Park facility, offering technical input to the project's outreach activities, and were heavily involved in writing last month's Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan, which outlines the government's plans to encourage the production of energy from waste.

The Cockle Park anaerobic digester is a good example of just what is possible. The plant will generate 75kW of renewable electricity from 8000 tonnes of farm wastes.

The plant currently uses pig slurry from 120 sows, but in future this will be supplemented with cow slurry, grass silage and vegetable trimmings from a local farmer. Eventually the owners hope to install a 100kW combined heat and power system, which will also be connected to the grid allowing for the export of surplus electricity.

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