Green gas produced from grass may be less expensive and cleaner than hydraulic fracturing.
According to green energy company Ecotricity, a plant that will use an anaerobic digestion system that turns grass into fuel, could be the UK’s cleaner and cheaper answer to fracking, an oil and gas mining process which renewable energy supporters say is not only slow to roll out, but also produces a substantial carbon footprint.
Green Gas Mills will be carbon neutral, financially assist local farmers and power thousands of homes.
Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity said that “Green Gas Mills will produce gas that is carbon neutral, supports food production and is sustainable – with the process actually improving the local environment rather than damaging it.” He added that “If both the energy and agricultural sectors can grasp this opportunity, this can end of the debate around fracking” because it won’t be needed.
If the first plant is approved, what this means is that power produced by Ecotricity’s Green Gas Mills could be one of the first of these types of renewable energy plants using anaerobic digestion to feed gas directly into the British energy grid, as well as the first to use only grass as fuel.
The green energy plant is expected to heat 6,000 homes.
How the plant will work is it will harvest grass from surrounding farmland. More specifically, to remain supplied it will require about 1,600 hectares of land. Half of the grass would come from pastureland that is barely used or no longer used for grazing, with the remaining supply coming from feedstock. The grass would then undergo the anaerobic digestion process, which would result in it being consumed by bacteria. The byproducts of this process are methane, carbon dioxide, and fertilizer. Each of these generated byproducts is utilized by industrial processes.
According to Vince, the renewable energy operation would manage the reactivation of unproductive land in a way that habitat would be created for different species of wildlife. Additionally, it could help farmers increase their food production by providing them with a crop rotation option.
The green energy plant is set to be developed in Gloucestershire by Ecotricity and is anticipated to heat 6,000 homes. After the planning stages commence later this year, the Green Gas Mill is expected to begin operation before 2017, as long as it receives approval.
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