Four years ago Simon Gittins, an entrepreneurial farmer from Shropshire, built an anaerobic digestion plant on the family farm, Wykey Farm, near Shrewsbury. The 4,000m³ AD plant that Simon invested in was the first of its kind to be built in the world. It’s a Semi-Plug Flow Digester which was designed as a 1MWe facility to be operated initially at 500kWe, ensuring efficient gas production. A second Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit was installed in late 2012 to increase plant output.
As farmers, we are not only asked to provide quality produce but also to be as environmentally aware as possible and farm as sustainably as we can. The AD plant fits very well within our farm system and we take a lot of feedstocks from Amur which go into our buffer tank and are then fed into the AD every hour. We also take advantage of other farm bi-products such as outgrade potatoes. It’s important to us that nothing goes to waste! We are producing significant amounts of renewable heat and electricity 24/7, producing more than 10 million kw of electricity per year which is capable of meeting the energy needs of more than 1,500 homes
This is the equivalent output of between 100 to 130 50 kw wind turbines. Through close liaison with Dean Barclay at Amur, the team always meet our supply needs and provide us with what we want, whenwe want it. There are lots of cheese factories in this region and being able to make good use of the whey and other bi-products provided to us by Amur is vital to our entire operation. The products they supply are consistently good and allow us to integrate more waste from the farm effectively. As we’re now able to put a greater amount of farm bi-products into the digester at the same time, this has enabled us to get our crop usage down by 50 percent. Efficiency is a key consideration to us and Amur have understood this from the outset”