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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Dung 'digester' fuels farmhouse
The farmer has cut his use of artificial fertilisers
An experimental project to reduce pollution in Solway bathing waters is providing benefits to a local farmer.

A treatment process removes dangerous bacteria from slurry at Ryes Farm near Sandyhills and converts it into a high performance and odourless fertiliser.

The system also produces surplus biogas which helps to heat the farmhouse and run a cooker in the building.

The "digester" has been funded by a Scottish Executive pollution control pilot scheme in south west Scotland.

Farmer Wesley Millar said he was intrigued by the process from the outset.

I have been able to drastically reduce the amount of artificial fertiliser I have put on
Wesley Millar

"I was really interested right from the start - I was quite fascinated by it," he said.

The three-stage process initially sees cow manure stored in a large reception tank.

It is then fed into the "digester" where it is broken down for at least 20 days before finally being transferred to another tank where it is stored as bio-fertiliser.

"I am very surprised at how well it has done," Mr Millar said.

"I have been able to drastically reduce the amount of artificial fertiliser I have put on."

'Great advantage'

One of the side products of the process is biogas which has been used to help heat the house and fuel a cooking range.

"There is a great advantage in the amount of heat that is here," said Mr Millar's wife Marina.

"We have a hob that is at temperature and ready to cook and a warm oven that is just there."

The experimental project is being undertaken by biogas specialists Greenfinch as part of the Scottish Executive initiative.

Although the capital costs are currently prohibitive for small farms it is hoped the system could be successful at larger businesses.

Cows make fuel for biogas train
24 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Cow dung for the climate
22 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature
Can dung power save the world?
22 Oct 04 |  Northern Ireland

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