The plant generates 4500kW of electricity and all this power flows directly into RAF Marham, making the second largest military base in the UK almost completely powered from a renewable source. This is the first military site to be supplied by a renewable source, 24 hours a day power, in the UK. The base uses about 60% of the power that we make and the surplus is exported to the Electricity Grid. We work closely with the local agricultural community and other stakeholders to ensure fully environmentally audited, sustainable and consistent operation.
Anaerobic Digestion (often abbreviated to AD) is a process that uses harmless naturally occurring micro-organisms (commonly found in a cow’s stomach) to digest biomass including agricultural wastes and energy crops. This process occurs in the absence of oxygen and converts soluble organic compounds present in the biomass into a stream of biogas and valuable organic fertiliser (called digestate). The process is performed in sealed tanks to capture the biogas.
Biogas produced from an AD process is a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide with a typical ratio of 55:45. These are then separated to generate pure methane, also known as Biomethane. This can be used to directly substitute fossil-derived natural gas commonly used in households for heating, cooking and hot water production.
The biogas produced by Redstow Renewables is used to run Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines which provide both heat and power. The renewable heat and electricity generated by the plant is used both to power RAF Marham and used on site; the surplus electricity is exported to the National Grid. Once this enters the local grid network it is distributed to local homes and businesses as a displacement of fossil-derived electricity.
Redstow Renewables works alongside farmers to source feedstock such as whole crop maize and rye locally. After the digestion process has concluded we apply the digestate to the field as a biofertiliser. This returns the organic materials and valuable nitrogen, potash and potassium for growing next year’s crops. The digestate replaces expensive and carbon intensive artificial fertilisers and helps improve farmers soil structure at a low cost. It also serves to trap carbon in the soils, further helping to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.
The UK Government has put in place a new target that will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. To help meet this 2050 target the government introduced carbon budgets as part of the Climate Change Act 2008. The first four carbon budgets cover the period from 2008 to 2027. In the fourth period (2023-2027) the UK committed to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. The UK has already reduced emissions by 42% whilst growing the economy by 72%. “Build back better” could see the number of “green collar jobs” grow to 2 million and the value of exports from the low carbon economy grow to £170 billion a year by 2030.
In 2019 the Chancellor, in his budget statement, announced further backing of the Anaerobic Digestion industry “we will publish proposals to require an increased proportion of green gas in the grid, advancing decarbonisation of our mains gas supply”.
Unlike other renewable energy technologies, Anaerobic Digestion can contribute to all three energy sectors (electricity, heat and transport), and as such will be key in aiding the UK in achieving its goals.
Being a positive force in the local community is one of our core ambitions – we aim to provide economic, social and environmental benefits to the areas around the plant.