Future of on-farm anaerobic digestion plant secured

The future of a 1MW on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plant based in Essex has been secured following new investment.

The purchase of Station Works AD in Thaxted, was completed in November by AD funders Privilege Finance and business partner BioWatt, who will take over the operation of the plant with immediate effect.

“Privilege has a portfolio of on-farm anaerobic digestion plants, and has been involved in over 20 successful such projects in the UK,” explains Phil Gerrard, CEO of Privilege Finance.

“We have another 20 more projects in progress, and a track record of turning around previously underperforming AD plants, working alongside industry partners, such as BioWatt.

“Therefore, investment in Station Works anaerobic digestion was a relatively straight forward decision for us,” adds Phil.

James Lloyd, CEO of BioWatt notes that experience in AD development, ownership and operation will help them to realise the potential of the plant. “Although it has been running successfully since 2012, the current performance level is at between 70% to 80% efficiency.

“Our aim would be to significantly improve this by fine-tuning the operation, investing in the infrastructure, and analysing the biology within the process,” says James.

The security of the plant’s future has benefits to ongoing employment in the local area, explains James. “The plant runs on feedstock consisting of maize, sugar beet and whole crops, which are all locally sourced.

“We’ve developed a relationship with local contractor, Joe Williams, who arranges the feedstock supply. This is then fed to the plant to create renewable electricity and heat.

“He’ll also be working closely with the neighbouring farmers over the coming months, to secure ongoing feedstock requirements for the digester.”