May 24, 2023 4.08 pm This story is over 6 months old

New anaerobic digestion plant planned at former Lincolnshire airfield

The potential to heat a city larger than Lincoln

An anaerobic digestion plant could be constructed at the former Manby Airfield near Louth in Lincolnshire.

The proposal, submitted to Lincolnshire County Council by James Dorman of Manby BGE, includes not only the plant itself but also a reception building, straw storage facilities, gas upgrade and compression equipment, a fertiliser manufacturing plant, offices, and road improvements.

According to a Design and Access Statement, the plant will incorporate various infrastructure components such as odour control units, condensers, exhaust stacks, and ammonia control equipment.

Access to the site will be improved from the B1200 Manby Middlegate.

Anaerobic digestion is a process that breaks down organic materials without oxygen, producing biogas, which can be used for electricity generation and heating purposes.

The proposed facility aims to utilise 40,000 tonnes of straw-based cattle manure, 134,000 tonnes of chicken litter, and 130,000 tonnes of straw a year sourced from local farms.

It is expected to generate approximately 7,200 normal cubic metres of biomethane per hour for the National Grid, along with 65,000 tonnes of cleaned liquid carbon dioxide and 165,000 tonnes of organo-mineral fertiliser.

Layout plans for the site.

In their report, Manby BGE highlighted the UK government’s growing concerns over energy and food security in recent years.

With a significant reliance on imported energy and food, any disruptions in supply – such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine – can have direct impacts on people’s lives and industries.

By utilising abundant resources within the UK, the proposed development aims to address these issues, safeguard domestic food production, and reduce global carbon emissions associated with synthetic fertilisers.

Another composite view of how the site could look.

“The production of 63 million N-m3 of biomethane per annum through this proposed development has the potential to make a substantial contribution to renewable energy production, leading to a reduction in fossil fuel usage,” stated Manby BGE.

“Based on the average annual gas consumption per dwelling in the UK, the biomethane produced annually by the proposed development has the potential to heat nearly 54,000 homes or a city larger than Lincoln.”

The developers also emphasised that biomethane offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), especially during the transition period as the UK strives to adopt electric vehicles.

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