A project in Cornwall UK is testing technology and a business model to show how an energy independent farm could go beyond the demonstrator phase. Bennamann are leading the £1.2 million research and development initiative part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and in collaboration with a team on the Penryn campus of Exeter University and St Allen-based Chynoweth Farm Partners.

Bennamann’s approach is to maximise the use of on-site renewable energy resources, in combination with cow manure, to supply all the energy needed for a dairy farm, including powering the tractor, taking the site off-grid, improving productivity and dramatically reducing the operational costs for the business.  

The project will also demonstrate how biomethane surplus to the farm’s needs can be made available in gas and liquid form for local sale to create an additional income stream for the farmer, and how the company’s process can improve the sustainability of land management through the minimisation of artificial inputs such as manufactured fertiliser. The project aims to provide a proven business model for a roll-out of this radical new approach across the county, the UK and beyond, putting Cornwall at the centre of a local clean energy revolution worldwide.

A key aspect of the project is net-zero carbon biomethane. That is biomethane sustainably derived from the anaerobic digestion of organic waste materials at the farm or country estate scale, such as manure slurry and cut grass, which will be commercially delivered as a compressed gas or liquid fuel to power lorries and tractors, heat households and businesses, provide hot water and gas for cooking, and even charge electric vehicles.   

“Our energy independent farming project aligns perfectly with the Council’s ambitions for a zero carbon Cornwall, as well as a wide range of their environmental, social and economic goals” says Chris mann, CEO and Co-Founder of Bennamann, “and without the funding from the ERDF it simply would not have happened, it could not have come at a better time for the county and us”.  

The AgroRES will be holding a webinar on slurry pit gas collection soon and this will include a presentation from Bennamann. As soon as possible we will be arranging a visit to the Energy Independent Farm in Cornwall.  

More information: https://bennamann.com/energy-independent-farming/