Renewable energy from the back end of a pig?
27 July 2008
Energy from waste
Renewable energy from the back end of a pig?
Energy company redefines what waste is
green energy uk’s innovative electricity generators are creating renewable energy from a variety of waste materials, including vegetable matter, unwanted wood, landfill gas and even pig waste. These materials traditionally would sit in landfill, or as with pig waste, manure on fields, decomposing and giving off greenhouse gasses, but they are now being given extended life and purpose. Recycling waste into power like this means less fossil fuels are needed to create the nation’s electricity. This is good news for the government in helping meet EU targets to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy by 2020.
green energy uk’s generators, based from Cornwall up to Caithness in Scotland, treat the waste to remove and use the harmful greenhouse gasses to produce green electricity. At a pig farm in Aberdeenshire, pig waste is treated through an anaerobic digester where microorganisms inside break down the biodegradable material to create a green biogas. The biogas is burnt to power a turbine that makes green electricity.
Since 2003, Hereford-based electricity generator Longma has provided a free waste vegetable oil collection service to schools, colleges, universities, pubs and restaurants in the region. Longma recycles the oil into environmentally friendly biofuels for generating electricity in Combined Heat and Power units (CHP). The electricity made is consumed locally, and the heat generated by the CHP units is used to heat the Longma factory and neighbouring industrial buildings. For every 100 litres of waste oil Longma collects, 90 less litres of fossil fuels is burnt.
green energy uk’s electricity generators using CHP units are utilising the heat they create by directing it locally to warm buildings and keep greenhouses at temperatures that allow for foods traditionally grown and imported from overseas to be grown in the UK. Old-fashioned power stations that use fossil fuel to make electricity also create heat, but this heat is not harnessed as it is with CHP units and is lost into the atmosphere as steam up cooling towers, making them terribly inefficient. According to Greenpeace reports, “On average, our large, centralised power stations throw away two thirds of the energy they generate…. CHP is the most efficient way possible to burn both fossil fuels (usually natural gas) and renewable fuels (including biomass and biogas). Pretty much any organic matter can be used to produce biogas; we could be reaping energy from farm waste, and from all of the organic waste - like uneaten food - that makes up about half of our landfill.”
green energy uk only buys green electricity, and the energy company is making the most out of what we throw away. Co-founder and chief executive for green energy uk, Doug Stewart, explains "By recycling organic waste into energy, utilising biomass and clean CHP methods, alongside our solar, hydro and wind power projects, we are trying to establish what we think is a stable, sensible, long-lasting energy solution that will maintain the modern quality of life and benefit future generations. It is going to take time, but it’s important for many reasons that the UK has a reliable energy source that is kind to the environment, plentiful and under its control. In theory the UK has resources to run itself entirely from renewable energy.”
green energy uk has two tariffs. Dark Green is made from 100% renewable sources and has zero carbon emissions. Pale Green is a mixture of renewable electricity, Biomass from waste and green electricity from Ofgem-accredited clean Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators whose carbon emissions are 65% less than the national average for producing electricity. green energy uk facilitates investment in a wide range of technologies to produce renewable and green electricity. By the end of 2008, 95% of the electricity green energy uk supplies will come from generators only commissioned since green energy uk began in 2001.
Notes to editors
• green energy uk is the first and only energy company in the UK to offer customers the choice of 100% renewable or 100% green electricity.
• green energy uk does not buy or sell any brown energy or energy created by Biomass from food crops.
• green energy uk is a young, British owned, Hertfordshire-based company which has grown substantially since it was established in 2001. It has a broad spectrum of customers, from homes using only £200 of electricity per annum to businesses with strong environmental policies such as Waitrose, the Duchy of Cornwall and Paradise Wildlife Park. green energy uk has a very unusual and radical business model: it is giving away half of the business in shares. The first 100,000 customers are getting 400 shares each.
• green energy uk buys from 30 commercial generation sites, broken down as eight green CHP, nine hydro, four wind and nine biomass from waste.
• green energy uk environmental impact:
Deep Green CO2 emissions – NIL. Radio active waste 0.00000g per kWh
Pale Green CO2 emissions - 160g per kWh. Radio active waste 0.00000g per kWh.
More information is available at www.greenenergyuk.com
For interviews and further information, please contact Keegan Wilson or Claire Adam at Substance PR.
T: 023 8023 8237