Farmers can now obtain funding to set up small anaerobic digestion (AD) plants under a government-funded loan scheme that opened today (October 10).
The £3 million initiative, announced by environment secretary Owen Paterson, will allow farmers to apply for £10,000 to prepare a business case for an AD plant and up to £400,000 from the AD Loan Fund to help them finance 50% of the cost of on-site AD technology.
The technology will save farmers money on energy costs and even boost their income if they export electricity to the grid. They will also be entitled to government incentives for producing renewable energy.
In addition, they can use the bio-fertiliser produced by the AD process to replace some of the artificial fertilisers they would otherwise have to buy.
The fund will be administered by non-profit ecology organisation WRAP, where chief executive Liz Goodwin said access to finance for on-farm AD had been difficult, especially for small scale operations.
“Currently there is no targeted financial support available to increase this capacity,” she added. “The On Farm AD Fund has been designed to both attract funding into the sector, and to provide support and materials for farmers to help them access finance in the future.”