The Anaerobic Digestion.Com web site has been short on information on Agricultural AD. This actually only reflects the position in the UK which had more on-farm AD units in operation during the mid-1990s than it does now.
Probably the most authoritative recent study on the viability of anaerobic digestion is the report prepared for the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy Division of the United Kingdom Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This is not a new report and it was published in October 2005, however, we do think it worth studying for anyone interested in utilising this abundant source of on-farm AD and Centralised Anaerobic Digestion (CAD) feedstock.
The report is really quite heavily negative about the economic vialbility of this form of AD, under the then, and current, regime in which the UK government is not providing direct financial support for AD.
We would argue that:-
Our view at Anaerobic-Digestion.Com is that there is a very good case for additional government investment in on-farm AD.
There is a significant win to be found from the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and the necessary £143 lifetime costs estimated for the first twenty plants in this report would surely deliver big bonuses in the development of the technology. If done well this investment would act as the seed corn for the mature development of the Anaerobic Digestion industry at which time costs would surely plummet.
Were we not at a similar stage with wind turbines no more than ten years ago?
Surely many of us can remember that wind turbine rotor blade failures featured heavily in the news. The doubters were saying that the reliability problems being experienced in that industry at the time were close to insoluble for such highly stressed and massive blades. Yet now who even mentions such problems?
The parallels are all around us which show us the benefits of strategic investment and the potential in Anaerobic Digestion. Let us see some leadership from our politicians who should by now realise that the public demand for action on carbon emissions is high.
The public also increasingly want to buy renewable power for their own domestic use, and so the provision of financial incentives for Anaerobic Digestion would help in this and other many ways.