Poultry farmer uses litter to boost sustainability and energy security


A Hereford-based poultry with a 90.000 broiler chicken operation invested in an anaerobic digestion (AD) project to convert its chicken litter into biogas to generate electricity and heat for the chicken houses.

The new AD plant at Great Ynys Farm, which also has 125 acres of arable land, was commissioned to replace costly fuel oil and propane gas, as well as provide a new income stream as a renewable energy generator.

It has a capacity to process 700 tonnes of poultry litter and 1,000 tonnes of cattle slurry, mixed with 3,000 tonnes of maize silage per annum.

The farm’s new green power company –Ynergy Ltd – contracted biogas generation experts ENER-G and biogas plant manufacturer PlanET Biogastechnik for project delivery.

The ground works were carried out by local contractors JJ Stanley and concrete tank construction by the Yorkshire-based company Galglass. Triangle Ltd supplied the low voltage electrical Panel.

The combined heat and power system provides 250kW of electricity, sufficient to power 450 homes, and 200kW of heat. This renewable energy source qualified for financial payments from both the government’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programmes – providing 14 pence per kW on all electricity generated and 6.5 pence per kW for the captured heat that is used on site.

Ynergy Ltd director Susan Shakesheff pointed out that the digestion process also produces a residue of 5,000 cubic metres of odourless organic liquid fertilizer, used to provide an enhanced nutrient source for the maize crop.

“The farm previously used its poultry litter as a fertiliser, but by digesting it first, methane losses to the environment during spreading will be eliminated,” she explained.

“A new poultry litter store was created to protect the AD feedstock from the elements and prevent the risk of nitrate run-off and leaching into the soil.”

She added that ENER-G and PlanET Biogastechnik had both provided her company with a modem link to their 24/7 monitoring operations, “which provided it with full visibility of system performance and efficiency data.

“The ongoing maintenance agreement with ENER-G and biological support from PlanET Biogastechnik will also help us to maximise efficiency and achieve the fastest possible pay back on our investment,” she added.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of the move to anaerobic digestion, and to improve our sustainability, and energy self-sufficiency. We are also helping neighboring dairy farmers to recycle their cattle slurry.”