Farmer Reckons His 600-Strong Dairy Herd Produces Enough Raw Material to Provide Power for a Whole Village

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Byline: By Darren Devine Western Mail

An organic farmer believes Wales can become a world leader in using cow dung to produce green electricity. Richard Tomlinson says his 600-strong dairy herd generates enough dung to power the entire village of Holt, close to his Lower Parks Farm.

The method generates power after dung is mixed with food waste in a generator and is already popular on parts of the Continent.

Mr Tomlinson, who hopes to begin using the method soon, held a meeting last night with locals in Holt, which has 500 homes, to allay fears over unwanted smells.

The power is generated by burning methane gas produced by the dung and the food waste when they decompose.

The technique is known as anaerobic digestion because the decomposition process is speeded up by placing the dung and food in an oxygen-free tank.

All waste left after the process can be used as fertiliser.

Mr Tomlinson, who describes himself as a committed environmentalist, says the generator would help the village near Wrexham become carbon-neutral.

And he wants farmers across Wales to embrace the technology to help the nation reduce its carbon footprint.

Mr Tomlinson, 44, said, "It will replace all the energy the villagers are using in their houses for electricity and lighting.

"We're hoping this will be one of many anaerobic digesters in Wales, because the potential to generate renewable energy and be less reliant on Russian gas and German power stations is huge."

Plans are also in place to add a generator to an anaerobic digester on Bank Farm, in Church Stoke, Powys.

At the moment farmer Clive Pugh uses his digester to enrich fertiliser and supply gas to his two farm houses. But within a couple of months he hopes the addition of the generator could make him one of the first farmers in Wales to supply electricity to the national grid produced using cow dung and food waste.

Mr Pugh's 125kw (kilowatt) machine will be smaller than the 500kw generator Mr Tomlinson hopes to use.

Mr Tomlinson, who with teacher wife Sadie has two children William, eight, and George, 11, wants the Assembly to back his scheme with a grant of pounds 1.2m.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly said they have offered financial support for anaerobic digestion schemes in the past and are planning to give further aid in the future. …