Loan fund to turn farm waste to energy

Farmers will be able to obtain funding to set up small anaerobic digestion (AD) plants under a government-funded loan scheme which opens today.

The technology turns waste into energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and produces a renewable source of bio-fertiliser. The £3 million initiative, announced by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today, will allow farms to apply for up to £400,000 from the AD Loan Fund to help them finance on-site AD technology.

The technology will save farmers money on energy costs and even boost their income if they export electricity to the grid. They will also be entitled to government incentives for producing renewable energy.

In addition, they can use the bio-fertiliser produced by the AD process to replace some of the artificial fertilisers they would otherwise have to buy.

The use of this form of technology on farms is an essential part of the government’s plan to invest in infrastructure to help businesses grow and boost the rural economy.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly is good for the environment and can boost economic growth and create jobs. This funding provides an opportunity for farmers across the country to consider whether AD technology is right for their farms, in order to cut waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.”

Farmers who would have otherwise struggled to get finance to set up a small scale AD plant will be able to apply for a loan for up to 50 per cent of the cost.

For more information on the fund, visit the WRAP website.