Chris Rose  -  On-farm anaerobic digestion: maximising use and enhancing the value of CO2, heat and nutrients

John Oldacre Foundation

I grew up in North Shropshire, a fertile farming region where agriculture was a key business. Living in a small rural village I was never far away from farming and by the time I left home to go to university in Exeter I had worked on most types of agricultural enterprises; from dairy and poultry farms to larger arable farms. With a keen interest in the environment and research, following a first degree in Physical Geography, I completed my PhD in anaerobic digestion in 2015. This kick started my passion for anaerobic digestion. Since this time I have been involved in the anaerobic digestion of numerous different types of feedstocks such as sewage sludge, wastewater, food waste and agricultural residues through both research and industry. Following working for a water utility company, I followed my passion for farming and moved closer back to agriculture, joining a dedicated AD business, called Amur, where I am currently an anaerobic digestion technical specialist.

After several years of moving around the country, I now live happily in West Norfolk, with my partner Eleanor. In my spare time I enjoy kitesurfing along the North Norfolk coast as well as surfing, wakeboarding and canoeing whenever I get the opportunity. When the water gets too chilly I move to my mountain bike to keep me entertained!

I am delighted to be sponsored by the John Oldacre Foundation and I would like to thank them for their generous support of my project allowing this unique opportunity combining both travel and learning.

Methane production is the primary driver for AD plants and is currently being largely utilised to its full potential. Conversely the corresponding bi-products of heat, CO2 and nutrients are not utilised to their full potential – this is where UK farms can learn from other countries and fully maximise these outputs.

This study aims to draw on findings from established AD markets, including Germany, Italy and the USA to support our UK industry in best utilising the bi-products of heat, CO2 and nutrients. It is believed that through the use of glass houses on the same site as anaerobic digesters it is possible for intensive high value crop production to take place; through this drawing on the heat, CO2 and high value nutrient mixes that are currently available but not utilised. Overcoming the hurdles of waste heat and CO2 use in intensive horticulture as well as investigating the construction of bespoke mixes of nutrients will be investigated throughout this study.