A self-contained, onsite electricity generating solution using a mix of solar power and biogas, developed by the UK’s Bioplex and Controllis, could not only reduce or eliminate electricity costs but even provide farmers and other users with a new income source, according to the companies.
"It will help the environment and reduce the cost and effort of dealing with waste products from the farm. It even provides fertilizer as an end product," according to Controllis.
Chris Reynell, Managing Director of Bioplex, said, “Farmers face a real challenge dealing with both plant and animal waste. It seems crazy just to spread it, while losing nutrients to the atmosphere and watercourses, when it can easily be turned into electricity.”
Bioplex has pioneered a high throughput system which turns grass and energy crops, along with a wide range of animal and food waste, into natural fertilizer and biogas. The recovered and stabilized fertilizer is re-used on the farm and the biogas generates electricity.
Due to its unique patented design, the Bioplex system occupies a low footprint and offers fast, easy deployment. The digester can use slurry, farmyard and horse stable manure, collected pasture toppings along with crop waste while simultaneously controlling parasites, pathogens, weeds and odor and minimizing production of excess liquid. The solid and/or liquid natural fertilizer is easy to use, and a major cost saving compared to conventional slurry spreading.
The Bioplex system is typically 20 percent more efficient at biogas production compared to rival systems, and can easily remove non-fuel generating and damaging materials such as grit and sand. The system can also produce biogas in 30 minutes. This provides clean, renewable almost on-demand energy production.
Controllis provides the ultra-efficient, highly reliable hybrid power solution: a biogas powered 12kW DC Genset generator, solar power arrays, battery bank and 75kW AC Mains Inverters. The Controllis system also provides cloud-based remote management and data analytics to enable farmers and landowners to understand, control and optimize system performance.
The on-site power is used to help power the farm (milking, pasteurization, lighting, grain drying, cleaning, storage, etc.) and provide power to local premises. The system is also metered and can feed back into the main grid to generate additional revenues.
The unique Controllis generator technology produces electricity much more efficiently than conventional generators, reducing biogas use. The solar arrays contribute to energy production and a dedicated battery provides power when no biogas is being produced. The result is a highly reliable, very cost-effective way to generate power on-site.
Lance Davidson, Vice President of Engineering at Controllis, concluded, “All aspects of the system have been optimized to maximize energy production, recycle farm waste as effectively and efficiently as possible and minimize the impact to the environment. Ultimately, this means that farms can now be self-sufficient, provide their own independent, reliable power, save (and potentially make money on) electricity costs and reduce their carbon footprint.”