Leeks, onions and maize to be used to create electricity from two proposed anaerobic digestion plants at Chatteris

Hollyhouse Farm, Chatteris, anaerobic plant plans

Hollyhouse Farm, Chatteris, anaerobic plant plans - Credit: Archant

TWO state of the art renewable energy anaerobic digestion plants are proposed for Chatteris – using maize and the other using waste from leeks and onions.

Allpress Farms – who farm some 1,700 acres of arable land to the east and south of Chatteris- has submitted plans for a unit at Hollyhouse Farm, Horseway.

They use a combinable crop and field vegetable rotation that produces up to 2,000 tonnes of leek and 3,000 tonnes of onion waste each year.

Until now the waste has been treated and spread back on the land but now Allpress want to digest it in a closed vessel to capture the carbon released as the methane component of biogas.

Once the biogas is captured it will be used to a fuel and combined heat and power unit to generate electricity to feed into the local company.

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“Energy companies are offering index linked financial incentives for the generation of such renewable energy for guaranteed terms,” says Allpress in a statement accompanying their application.

The second digestion plant is proposed on the south west side of the A142 roundabout at Ireton Way/Block Fen Drove and some 500 metres from Mepal Outdoor Centre.

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Pretoria Energy Ltd says it will be the second of such sites they own (the first is now being built at Chittering) with others to follow.

Their proposal will utilise 80,000 tonnes of maize grown locally each year from which they expect to more than two thirds of it will create the digestate needed for the process.

Pretoria has told planners that 60,000 tons of maize will be stored on site, a third of which will come from Manea.

The company has put forward lorry and tractor movement projections (each lorry carries 28 tons and each tractor and trailer 14 tons) to show the scale of the operation.

The company says some odour omissions are possible but these would be “readily controlled” through best practice incorporated into the design of the digestion plant.

“Any residual odours generated would tend to be low and ‘agricultural’ in nature,” says the company.

“Given the relative remoteness of the site from residential properties any odours would be unlikely to cause significant adverse impact.”

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