UK-based Harper Adams University College, which has more than 4,000 students, is expanding its commitment to sustainable energy by starting work on a £3million-plus renewable power system at its Shropshire campus. The anaerobic digester at Harper Adams in Edgmond, near Newport has been in planning for two-and-a-half-years and the recent turf cutting ceremony brought together all the major partners including BiogenGreenfinch, which is designing the plant, energy company E.ON, and local contractor Adonis Construction.
The plant is expected to be generating heat and power from farm and food waste by the end of March 2011 and is anticipated to offset campus carbon emissions more than three times over. It will also create jobs and everyone from farmers to primary school pupils will be able to find out more about renewable energy technology from the site.
Harper Adams is just one of three higher education institutions in England to have won a share of £10 million set aside for ‘transformational’ projects under the Revolving Green Fund- which was set up by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Salix Finance.
Principal of Harper Adams, David Llewellyn, says: “Food and farm waste can be digested in the AD unit and recycled into three useful by-products instead of being left to degrade in landfill or elsewhere, leaking methane into the atmosphere. Biogas will fuel a unit producing both heat and power meaning we will be sheltered from fluctuating energy prices for at least the next 10 years and will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for our campus.”
Other products of the process are a liquid fertiliser and compost, which can be used for the University College’s farm and grounds operations, reducing reliance on manufactured fertilisers. This will, in effect, bring the Harper Adams food chain full circle.
Making the first cut into the ground are (left to right): Don Leiper, managing director of E.ON Energy Services; Dr David Llewellyn, principal of Harper Adams; and John Ibbett, chairman of BiogenGreenfinch.