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Renewable biogas from cow manure injected into grid in UK first

Helena Horton
Manure from cows has been converted into energy - Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo
Manure from cows has been converted into energy - Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo

Renewable biogas made from cow manure has been injected into the National Grid in a UK first which will create enough energy to power ten homes for a year.

The Murrow Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Cambridgeshire mixed the manure with straw and left it in an oxygen-free environment to produce methane, which has been sold to the grid so people can use it to cook meals and heat their homes.

Biogas is being increasingly looked at by energy companies as it offers far better carbon emissions savings than natural methane gas.

It could also be a boon for farmers, who could sell their manure to energy companies in order for it to be turned into renewable gas. The post-brexit agriculture bill also enshrines extra payments for farmers who use their land and livestock to help the environment.

This method is currently being explored in California, US, with farmers hoping it could be a "new goldrush" and help offset the methane emissions from the cows throughout their lives on the farms.

This trial began in July and the National Grid confirmed this week that it was connected to the Gas National Transmission System late last month, successfully enabling flows of up to 15,000 standard cubic meters per hour of the biogas into the grid.

There are now plans to roll this method of creating energy from farm waste out country-wide in order to increase the amount of renewable energy we use.

Ian Radley, head of gas systems operations at National Grid, said this method will "play a critical role in the journey to Britain achieving net zero".

He added: "We've collaborated closely with Biocow on this innovative project to ensure we met their needs and ultimately successfully connected their site to the National Transmission System; supporting the transition to a low carbon economy and paving the way for similar projects in the future."