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Can research and innovation rescue on-farm AD?

The news for future developments in on-farm AD seems pretty gloomy at the moment: no extra support coming through FITs, caps to the levels of deployment, and long waits between the time you apply for and receive pre-accreditation. On top of that government is proposing overburdensome restrictions and rules on crop use, even for the very smallest operators.

So what can we all do to support small farm-based plants using manures and local crops?

A recent International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 37 report, Exploring the viability of small scale anaerobic digesters in livestock farming, provides a good framework from which to look at the technology options and financial viability. It assesses the viability of installing digesters to manage the manure from a 100 cow milking herd. It looks at scenarios for digesters costing in the range of £100k – £300k, but asks whether, in the absense of volume cost reductions, these costs are possible to achieve. It's a difficult question – and we have asked one of the reports authors – Angela Bywater (of ADNet) – to come and talk at our Research and Innovation Hub at UK AD & Biogas in July.

We've made this talk the highlight of a session and the Hub to focus on farming and sustainability in AD: Can research and innovation rescue on-farm AD? 

We'll have Dr. Paul Adams of the University of Bath talking about the research going on in support of more accurate data for sustainability reporting. Sustainability reporting is a set of new rules being introduced into the Renewable Heat Incentive, Renewables Obligation and now potentially the Feed-in Tariff. It's a major undertaking and we need experts like Paul to focus on using the most researched and accrurate data in which to base the greenhouse gas savings. Emissions from fertiliser use and methane leakage are two of the topics we're relying on Paul to research. So we want to hear what Paul has to say – and our Hub is designed to be as interactive as possible so bring all your questions along to Paul.

We also have Dr. Hafez Abdo of Nottingham Business School to talk about  UK energy policy within the framework of EU targets, and how this relates to farm AD. The referendum on UK membership of the EU will be over by the time of UK AD & Biogas. So Hafez will be talking not only about how multiple targets from EU and UK level overlap in climate and energy policy, but also about how that might change in future. It could be that this is the most timely of all the talks in the whole UK AD & Biogas programme this year.

All the session details can be found here, along with the full programme. 

We need to get farm AD thriving in order to reduce the 9 million tonnes of methane emissions from manure management that the UK emits each year. Join us in making this happen. 

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