Today the plant generates up to 600³ of biomethane per hour, that is injected into the Gas Grid. Furthermore, a 500kW CHP provides power for on-site use and exports the surplus 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 biomethane produced by Merlin Renewable is piped through a special Cadent Gas metering unit used to monitor the energy output of the plant. At this stage it is injected into the adjoining gas pipe owned by Cadent Gas. Once the biomethane enters the local gas grid network it is distributed to local homes and businesses as a displacement of fossil-derived natural gas.
Merlin 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.
The Merlin Renewables Community Fund has been created to support local projects and community groups located within the vicinity of the biogas facility.
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 local community in which we operate.
We also aim to work closely with local residents and stakeholders to ensure that local community benefits are seen directly as a result of our support.
The community fund is available for the purpose of supporting the local environment, educational, amenity or other appropriate, not for profit initiatives/groups in the local area.
We like to focus our funding on projects and organisations within a 1 mile radius of the biogas facility, however, under exceptional circumstances, proposals within up to 3 miles from the facility will also be considered.
The community fund will be available each year for the operational life of the plant, with new projects and organisations selected each year.
Application Process and Important Dates
Applications for the 2022 Merlin Renewables Community Fund
The community fund is open to applicants for financial support within the chosen radius of the biogas facility whose aims and project(s) meet the funding requirements.
Full details of which can be found in the Guidance Notes and Application Form.
The annual deadline for submissions is 30th April 2022.
During the review period (May) the community fund trustees will review all of the applications.
Please note this will take place within the same timescales every year.
The selection process will be based on meeting one or more of our key requirements;
Successful applicants will receive funding levels determined by the number of projects/groups selected each year, however we intend to support 2-3 projects/groups per year.
Applicants can apply for funding for consecutive years and will be considered in line with other eligible applications.