Steering group

Anaerobic Digestion for Rural Diversification

Integrated systems for farm diversification into energy  production by anaerobic digestion:

implications for rural development, land use & the environment


Energy production on farms through Anaerobic Digestion

 This Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) project explored the potential for bioenergy production through on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD), and the contribution this could make to rural development and diversification of agricultural practice.

 The research, undertaken by the Universities of Southampton and Reading, addressed policy, economic, technological and environmental issues.  Its aims were to:  

     carry out a detailed analysis of regulatory measures in the European Community and those specific to the UK that influence the development of bioenergy and biofuel production

     identify drivers and obstacles to the development of on-farm digestion as part of a wider strategy for rural development and for meeting cross compliance criteria

     assess the technology options and their compatibility with farming practices

     develop rigorous models for the economics, energetics and land use implications of diversification into on-farm energy production using energy crops, agricultural residues and wastes

     assess the benefits and potential drawbacks for environmental protection and sustainable agricultural practice, using novel environmental risk-based analysis methodologies

     seek farmers' opinions on diversification and renewable energy production using AD, and explore the potential benefits to the wider rural community from uptake of this technology in an integrated farming system

 The project involved two industrial partners offering a depth of experience in biogas technology, and a number of farmers interested in developing on-farm digestion.

  Energy crop production
  Holsworthy biogas plant UK
  laboratory research

page last modified 05/10/2010