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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 06:53 GMT
Cow dung plan for housing energy
Richard Tomlinson
Richard Tomlinson said he hopes to get a loan to build the generator
A farmer says he can create enough energy to power 500 homes in his local village - by using cow dung.

Richard Tomlinson claims his 600 organic dairy cows can produce enough waste to provide renewable fuel for those living in Holt, near Wrexham.

Mr Tomlinson plans to hold a meeting with villagers to explain how the energy is created by mixing cow slurry and food waste in a generator.

Friends of the Earth Cymru supports the fuel, which is used in mainland Europe.

Mr Tomlinson has yet to apply for planning permission for the generator - called an anaerobic digester - and needs to raise 1.2m to build it, which he hopes could come from a low interest loan from the Welsh Assembly Government.

But he said villagers he has spoken to support his plans, and he is hoping his meeting on Wednesday will allay any fears others may have about bad smells, which Mr Tomlinson says are disposed of by the generator.

Fuel cost rises

He also hopes the Welsh Assembly Government will support him, saying farmers across the country could help Wales become a leading country in producing the energy.

"Electricity is going up in cost and there's no doubt that all fuel will continue to go up now," said Mr Tomlinson, whose Lower Park Farm, between Holt and Rossett, has been in his family for 100 years.

"This is a viable alternative and I'm keen Wales leads the way. After all, we have an agricultural economy and it would provide a valuable income for farmers."

This [fuel] is already widespread in mainland Europe and Wales should be looking to do the same
Neil Crumpton, Friends of the Earth Cymru

He said many local authorities use anaerobic digesters to process waste but do not use the energy produced for fuel.

Only about 12 generators in the UK are used to produce energy - many to power farms - Mr Tomlinson said, despite the fact thousands of anaerobic digesters are used in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria.

In the short-term, he is focusing on gaining planning permission for the anaerobic digester at his farm, which would feed into the National Grid and provide enough energy for 500 homes.

He hopes that in future the energy could be pumped directly to houses in Holt.

Neil Crumpton, Friends of the Earth Cymru's energy campaigner, agreed more needs to be done to encourage UK farmers to produce renewable fuels.

"This [fuel] is already widespread in mainland Europe and Wales should be looking to do the same," he said.

"But I would say government policy [in the UK] is years behind. They are pro nuclear energy but very slow to promote renewables like this."



SEE ALSO
Waste plant opponents launch fund
19 Jan 06 |  North West Wales
Village concern at waste factory
16 Jan 06 |  North West Wales
Cows make fuel for biogas train
24 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Company pulls out of biogas plan
11 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
Cow dung for the climate
22 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature
College harnesses cow pat power
24 Dec 06 |  Education

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