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Renewable Energy gathers pace at Cereals

So far 40 companies have booked space ready to offer expert advice. Visitors wanting to generate their own renewable power can view a range of biomass boilers, biogas plants, wind turbines and solar panels. And farmers wanting to grow fuel crops for established companies will be able to assess a range of opportunities.

Drax Power Limited returns as sponsor of the Renewables Area. “We are delighted to continue supporting this sector of the Cereals event, which reflects the increasing importance of renewables within agriculture,” says Rob Wood, biomass buyer at Drax.

The company is seeking more straw, miscanthus and willow producers for its Green
Shoots direct biomass supply programme. Mr Wood believes the scheme, operated with the help of rural consultant Brown & Co, could receive a boost as proposed new third party pelleting plants come on line across the country.

“These plants convert biomass into a much denser material, which cuts the cost of haulage dramatically. The proposed locations for the plants close to areas of production will enable us to extend our network of growers.”

The recent £7/t increase announced by Drax power station for 2012 miscanthus supplies means ex-farm prices have more than doubled in eight years, reports Keith Wilson of International Energy Crops. “Growers within a 60-mile radius of the power station will earn £63/t for baled miscanthus this season,” he says.

To help growers tap in to this market, IEC is launching a 10-year RPI-linked rental or contract farming agreement at Cereals 2012. IEC will establish and use the crop for 10 years before returning it to the farmer who will still have 10 years or more of profitable energy growing, Mr Wilson explains.

IEC is also unveiling a new venture with German boiler manufacturers and UK installers to stimulate uptake of boiler systems, which provide fuel cost savings and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) advantages.

Despite the ongoing reductions in Feed-In Tariffs (FITs), financial returns from solar energy are little changed from year-ago levels thanks to falling capital costs, says Brian Gallagher of Playfords Solar Energy.

"Last year we were looking at £120-125,000 for a 50kW installation; this year it's to £75- 80,000. We are still looking at an 8-10 year payback," he says. The company will have a range of panels on display.

Anaerobic digester specialist BioG UK will be on hand to discuss its novel joint venture package to help farmers who are thinking about installing a plant but are put off by the cost.

The scheme also extends to stalled projects, which have successfully achieved planning permissions but are struggling for finance, technology backup or feedstock. The scheme offers a 100% finance package involving a straightforward 50:50 split in shares between the farmer and BioG UK.

EnviTec Biogas UK has at least five AD plants on arable or mixed farms coming on line. Farmers can find out more about the technology at Cereals. John Day, UK sales manager says per acre, converting silage into electricity is more efficient than growing oilseed rape to produce biodiesel or bioethanol. “It also reduces greenhouse gas production and improves biodiversity.”

Midlands based Environmental Energies now supplies and installs the MuckBuster, a self-contained anaerobic digester, set up to process animal manure, organic or septic waste. Various size systems are offered to suit most processing needs.

Windcrop will be demonstrating a full-size, working wind turbine at this years Cereals event. The company has secured contracts for over 100 sites in East Anglia for its 15m high 5kW generators. Windcrop secures planning permission and installs and maintains turbines. The landowner gets free electricity while the company receives the feed-in tariff.

NIBE Energy Systems will be showing its latest new generation heat pump. The F1345 is claimed to be more flexible and powerful and designed to provide ground-sourced energy to large residential, commercial and industrial situations.

The pump is manufactured in four sizes from 24 to 60kW, but can be linked to provide more power. Energy can be provided from boreholes in rock or below-ground collectors.

Dragon Heat is developing a new autofeeder for its range of rugged boilers. The key difference between it and other feeders is that it will cope with a wide range of material, not just heavily processed fuels.

“It will work with crushed wood waste or used straw, for example, and will suit our larger on-farm and industrial units,” says director Phil Ampson. Although the new machine will not be ready for Cereals he expects plenty of interest at the event, judging by forward sales.

About 27,000 visitors and 470 exhibitors are expected to attend Cereals 2012 at
Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire. Tickets cost £22 each (£18 for students) and are available at

Visitors qualify for 2 NRoSO points and 4 BASIS points for attending either day and there are opportunities to earn further points within the event. For further information on Cereals 2012 go to

by S. C.
02 june 2012, World News > Europe