The Gorst Energy plant appeared in a recent BBC Spotlight feature on Friday 22nd April 2022. A team from the BBC visited our site to see the production of home-grown biogas in action!

Farm waste and energy crops are fed into the anaerobic digester, which acts like a huge stomach and produces gas. This gas is used to directly supply local homes and to generate electricity that enters the National Grid. The Gorst Energy plant currently provides gas for 2,300 homes in Exeter and East Devon, plus enough electricity to power over 900 homes.

The by-product of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process is known as digestate. Digestate makes an excellent natural fertiliser, as an alternative to expensive and environmentally damaging artificial fertilisers. Farmers who supply feedstock for the plant can in turn use this quality natural fertiliser on their land, reinforcing our circular economy model.

A key message in the BBC feature was around how AD can reduce the UK’s dependence on imported gas. This dependence means that international events, including the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cause huge fluctuations in gas and energy prices, driving the current cost of living crisis.

Darren Stockley, Managing Director at Ixora Energy, spoke in the video about how AD is based on a local model of energy production. Gas is produced by our plant in Devon and directly supplied to local homes at a fixed price. It is this local focus that avoids the volatility of international energy prices and creates welcome stability for households.

Some people interviewed by the BBC raised common concerns about AD, which you can find out more about on our information page Debunking Myths About AD. For example, AD is often misconstrued as being noisy, but we are working with local communities to minimise the impact of plant activity on residents, for example by carrying out sound reduction work.

With the climate emergency and cost of living crisis looming large, there is increasing demand for sustainable, local, and innovative ways of generating energy in the UK. If we are to move towards a circular economy when it comes to energy production, as well as reach ambitious Net Zero targets, AD will have a major role to play.