Late last year Transition Lavenham won a government grant to investigate the viability of building an anaerobic digester. This was awarded by the Rural Community Energy Fund, intended to support renewable energy projects to boost the rural economy and cut consumption of fossil fuels.
In essence, anaerobic digestion uses microbes to break down food waste, manure and other organic substances in the absence of air, producing a methane-rich biogas. This can either power an on-site generator or be injected into the natural gas grid (with a little propane added).
A compost-like material known as digestate arises as a by-product, which can be used as a fertiliser. So the end result is that waste products are used productively rather than ending up in landfill.
The investigation is being conducted by local firm Farm Renewables, which project managed the construction of another digester near Bury St Edmunds.
Carroll Reeve, chair of Transition Lavenham said, “This is a really exciting chance for us to access expert advice to investigate a way in which we can develop a renewable energy project which provides real benefits to local people, while allowing us to make a positive impact on tackling climate change.”