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Tea with Dorothy
A digester called Dorothy in a Bride Valley market garden is showing the way forward when it comes to creating biogas – and making a good hot cuppa.
The Bridport Renewable Energy Group have set up a micro-scale anaerobic digestion demonstration project in the field at Ourganics near Litton Cheney. They are planning to show how the process can add value to small-scale food production, by providing biogas for cooking, and a liquid fertiliser for feeding crops.
The digester is being fed grass to produce biogas, which is fed to a field kitchen where it is used to fuel the tea urn. Dr Dave Neylan, the technical consultant for the project, describes the process as mimicking the digestion of a cow, and Pat Bowcock, the owner of Ourganics, has christened the system Dorothy.
Dot, as she is affectionately known, is located in an off-grid low-impact market garden run on permaculture principles and ethics, and is being fed a diet of lawn cuttings, which come from the general site maintenance. As a result she is producing copious quantities of gas and liquid fertiliser.
The project has been a great learning journey, and BREG plan to run a series of events describing the work, and discussing the potential benefits for food producers. The sessions are intended to cater for a range of interest, from the curious to those wishing to develop technical competence. On Sunday, September 23 there will be tours aimed at members of the community; on Wednesday, September 26 a morning targeted at food producers and on Sunday, September 30 an all-day event for those wishing to know the technical details of the process.
There will be a small charge for the events, booking is necessary, and tea, coffee and cakes will be provided.
“BREG is a community group run by volunteers, and this project is being carried out as part of the business plan to promote renewable energy within our local community,” said BREG member Richard Toft.
“Anaerobic digestion is being seen as particularly relevant to small-scale food producers who are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living from food production alone.
“It can help not only with reducing energy costs, but also with improving the soil and yields.”
More information is available by phoning Richard Toft by telephonining 01308 424103, emailing email@example.com, or from the website at breg.org.uk The project has been funded by DEFRA as part of their Rural Development Programme for England programme.