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UK Farmers Key To Fossil Free Energy Future

24th February 2014

Not only do they produce much of our food and drink, but UK farmers could help produce nearly a third of our energy needs by 2050 according to a new report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester.

The study highlighted biomass from agricultural waste, such as straw, forestry and bio crops as being at the centre of our fossil-free energy future, generating a third of our primary energy requirements with industrial processes and waste resources increasing energy generation to a possible 44%.

"Biomass residue resources from ongoing UK activities, such as agriculture, forestry and industrial processes, were found to represent a continuous and robust resource option for the UK bioenergy sector," according to the study author, Andrew Welfle. "The potential bioenergy generated from agricultural residues, particularly from straws and slurry resources, being the highlight opportunities for the bioenergy sector due to their high abundance and current underutilisation.”

As an example of how straw can be used, TGE Group has completed a 1MW biomass installation in Nocton, Lincolnshire, supplying heat to over five acres of greenhouses and buildings. The system was designed to operate on straw briquettes, a waste recovery product produced and processed on site at a cost of £10/tonne.

“Farmers and landowners have been at the centre of the UK’s renewable revolution over the last five years and will be key to breaking our addiction to fossil fuels,” said TGE Group Managing Director, Rupert Higgin.  “Whilst other business sectors have been slow to react, the agricultural sector was quick to recognise the long term financial and environmental advantages of renewable energy and now stand to produce significant amounts of the UK’s fossil-free heat and power through technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, biomass and heat pumps.”

Biomass currently generates 38% of the UK’s renewable energy, but only 15% of overall energy production.  For further information on biomass or other renewable technologies contact the TGE Group Energy Team on 0845 643 2528.

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