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Stackyard News Feb 09

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    Potential Use of Methane Gas Generated from Renewable Resources

National Grid commissioned a Report from Ernst & Young, which was published on the 2 February 2009 with regard to the potential use of methane gas generated from renewable resources.

Crops such as maize silage or vegetable waste could be grown specifically for the biogas plant.

maize silage

The Report concludes that a total of up to 50 per cent of domestic household gas could be generated from renewable resources, such as the UK’s biodegradable waste, which is currently mainly going to landfill.

The gas would be produced via anaerobic digestion (AD) or gasification, and could provide a sustainable solution to the UK’s demand for domestic gas.

The total cost of the infrastructure would be similar to that required to be invested in traditional power stations. Importantly the Report concludes that there are no insurmountable technical or safety barriers to delivering this solution which is already well adopted in other European countries.

For once farmers and rural landowners are best placed to benefit from this technology, AD relies upon a fuel product that is biodegradable and could therefore consist of either green or household food waste, or alternatively crops such as maize silage or vegetable waste grown specifically for the biogas plant.

At present subsidies are received for converting the methane produced via AD into electricity, however the Report advises that the subsidies should also apply to the generation of biogas methane that is piped straight into the gas National Grid, which improves the efficiency of its utilisation from approximately 30 per cent to 90 per cent.

The National Grid report has been submitted to the Minister, and a response to the recommendations is eagerly awaited.

Fisher German LLP are fully committed to providing a comprehensive service to farmers and landowners relating to renewable energy opportunities and are currently involved in bringing forward several significant large scale schemes, including not only AD but also biomass and hydro.

Stephen Rice, one of their Renewable Experts, comments ‘farmers and landowners who have the ability to grow either a fuel product directly utilised by a renewable energy plant, or are currently generating a waste product that could provide an alternative source of energy, are best placed to exploit this emerging technology. We are fully supportive of the advice contained in the Report and are hopeful that the Government will react in a positive proactive way.

Fisher German have specialists in all sectors who can advise farmers and landowners as to the options available. For an initial appraisal contact Stephen Rice or Henry Sale. Stephen can be contacted on 01295 226297 or 07918 677575 or Henry Sale can be contacted on 01858 411 217 or

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