Anaerobic Digestion (AD) has been termed the ‘natural ally’ for UK farmers looking to adopt sustainable practices. AD’s approach to green waste management caters to many elements of agricultural practices, making them the perfect partners. For instance, AD takes agricultural waste off UK farmers’ hands, transforming it into renewable energy which can be used on farmland or in the local community, as well as producing a digestate bi-product that can be used to fertilize crops.

Agriculture and Climate Change

According to the  NFU’s 2019 Strategy Report on achieving Net Zero, agriculture makes up 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, releasing predominantly methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. The report also highlighted the importance of achieving Net Zero in agriculture. Unlike other industries, agriculture holds the unique capability of achieving ‘negative emissions.’ In short, it can capture CO2 from the atmosphere, turning it into a range of food, fibre, and fuels.

Alongside this push to achieve Net Zero by 2040, a recent Agricultural Roadmap released by the UK government has further promoted the importance of sustainable practices in agriculture. The landmark Agricultural Bill, announced in late 2020, announced DEFRA’s plan to secure funding for UK farmers carrying out work that tackled climate change.

“We want farmers to access public money to help their businesses become more productive and sustainable, while taking steps to improve the environment and animal welfare, and deliver climate change outcomes on the land they manage,” said Environment Secretary George Eustace.

Alongside the bill, DEFRA published statistics demonstrating how the  biofuel industry is increasing, with 96,000 hectares of UK agricultural land being used to grow crops for bioenergy in 2019 alone.

How can AD Help?

AD holds the key to UK farmers achieving their sustainability targets and securing funding from the government. Plus, the NFU’s Net Zero report labelled AD as a crucial element in achieving the 2040 goal.

AD is a valuable asset for any organisation looking to improve sustainable practices and tackle climate change, however, agriculture holds particular value due to its waste products. Crops and residue, slurry and manure, food waste, and waste water are the four main inputs for AD, often all of which are produced on agricultural land.

Overall, AD allows farmers to get a fair price for agricultural waste. This waste is first sent to a factory where it is combined to form a feedstock and placed into a digester. This digester then turns the feedstock into biogas, which can be used as a renewable energy source for the local community, or sent back to the farmland to use as power for machinery and the premises. The process of producing this biogas causes a bi-product of digestate. This digestate forms a nutrient rich fertilizer for crops, and is much kinder to the environment than synthetic fertilizers, which are often produced using fossil fuels.

Ixora Energy provide farmers across the UK with a high-quality AD service. AD is part of the Circular Economy, generating renewable energy to support the rural economy, local communities, and the food industry by minimising waste. As the government promotes incentives for farmers tackling climate change and organisations such as the NFU push for a focus on sustainable practices, turning to AD is a logical pathway to success for the agricultural industry as a whole.