They were sold as EU-subsidised miracle machines that could convert waste into gas to heat homes, but a string of insolvencies has left lenders and investors questioning the wisdom of anaerobic digestion plants. The equipment, which turns food and agricultural waste into methane that can be sold to the national grid, has attracted millions of pounds from big-name investors, such as the private equity veteran Jon Moulton. However, the law firm Fieldfisher estimates that the number of plants that have gone into administration has doubled over the past three years. Incentives have been offered under the common agricultural policy to install digesters, which can cost more than £10m, but experts say the plants need more attention than owners can give while running a farm too. Crouchland Biogas in West Sussex, which set up one of Brita in’s biggest plants, and SS Agri Power in Essex went into administration last year. Devon-based Greener for Life Energy was restructured after finding new funding. The plants have become a fixture across parts of rural Britain but have attracted criticism. Some have required specialist crops to be grown for fuel, defeating the object of using farm waste. Others have caused toxic spills.
Times 5th Aug 2018 read more »