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Biogas From Cow Manure Injected Into The Grid


Anaerobic digestion (AD) company BioCow has turned cow manure into renewable biogas, and sold it back to the National Grid in a UK first, which could represent a new income stream for farmers.

According to Circular Online, the biomethane was connected to the Gas National Transmission System at the end of July by BioCow’s Murrow Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Cambridgeshire. The AD plant produces renewable gas, a form of methane, made from a mix of cattle manure and straw.

The process involves sealing the waste in tanks without oxygen, where it is broken down by naturally occurring micro-organisms - bacteria - into biogas which can then be used for power generation.

Any non-methane components from the process are removed before the biogas can be sent for use as an energy source. Anaerobic digestion is now widely used as a source of renewable energy. 

Biogas can be used directly as fuel, in combined heat and power gas engines or upgraded to natural gas-quality biomethane. A nutrient-rich digestate also produced can be used as fertiliser.

Ian Radley, Head of Gas Systems Operations at National Grid has said that the use of anaerobic digestion plants and biomethane will be an essential part in helping the UK reach its net zero carbon commitments by 2050.

Weve collaborated closely with Biocow on this innovative project to ensure we met their needs and connected their site to the National Transmission System,” he said.

He added that the move will help the UK in its transition to a low carbon economy, as well as paving the way for similar projects in the future.

The AD process could be a means of helping the UK’s farmers by providing them with a new source of revenue by selling cow manure to energy production plants, as well as a means to offset the greenhouse gas methane produced by cattle through a new green initiative.

The levels of biomethane produced every hour by Murrow Anaerobic Digestion Plant and fed into the National Grid is enough to meet the average annual gas consumption of ten households.

Chris Waters, Managing Director of Biocow said these were just the first steps in the company’s efforts to find new and innovative means to supply the National Grid with renewable gas.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with National Grid in the future as we continue to develop our site at Murrow,” he said.

The UK government has set goals to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, which will require an enormous investment in the infrastructure needed for the huge increase in renewable energy to hit the targets, as well as investment to increase the stability of its energy networks.

The supply of biogas to the National Grid in July using this technique is a first for the UK, but not the only project of that nature. Anaerobic digestion needs pressurised tanks to convert waste into useful biogas, which requires the use of pressure relief valves. Contact our team if you’d like to find out more.