The Icknield Farm AD project will provide the following benefits to the local community:

 

  • A sustainable supply of renewable gas.  The AD plant, once commissioned, will produce approximately 5 million cubic metres of biomethane every year, with an energy value of approximately 50 million kilowatt hours (thermal). The average household in the UK consumes approximately 16,500 kWh of gas each year, meaning that the plant will supply sufficient gas for approximately 3,000 households, or approximately the same number as the villages of Goring and South Stoke combined.  To put this in perspective, the annual output from the AD plant, which will occupy an area of less than two hectares, would be equivalent in renewable energy terms to that of a solar farm occupying a site of approximately 35 hectares.

 

  • Treatment of around 10,000 tonnes of pig slurry annually.  This pig slurry, produced at a local piggery, is currently spread in its raw form onto the local farmland as a fertiliser, which can result in odour problems from time to time.  By processing the slurry through the digesters, not only will the methane be extracted (and methane is one of the single largest contributors to our greenhouse gas emissions), but the resulting digestate will have been substantially de-odourised, meaning that when spread onto the fields, the smell will be almost completely absent.

 

  • Reduction in HGV Road Miles on Oxfordshire's Roads.  The proposal would effectively create a local market for a large amoiunt of cereals which are currently transported large distances in heavy grain lorries to places such as Bristol, Southampton and Northampton when sold.  The number of journeys would be unaltered, therefore, but the average length of the journeys would be hugely reduced, with consequent benefits to CO2 emissions,and reduction in haulage costs for local farmers.

 

  • Employment.  The plant will employ at least one and possibly two people who will be responsible for its regular feeding and maintenance.

 

  • A sustainable future for the local arable farms.  Margins in farming are historically slim.  The project will add diversity to the farm revenues, and increase profitability, ensuring that these businesses have a strong future. 

 

  • A substantial contribution to the Government's commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Government has legally binding targets for renewable energy generation and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  Methane is one of the single largest sources of greenhouse gas, and the AD process captures all of it.

 

  • A reduction in the use of chemical fertilisers in the vicinity.  The digestate that is left after methane extraction is high in plant nutrients and will replace a considerable amount of factory-produced nitrogen fertiliser.  This is manufactured by using gas, resulting in a double saving of CO2 production.  Other nutrients contained in the digestate include Potash, Phosphorous and Sulphur, all of which are mined in various parts of the world and are essential to plant growth.

 

  • An increase in yield to the arable land in the vicinity.  The highly nutritious organic digestate will be used as fertiliser in both solid and liquid form, and spread onto several thousand acres of arable land around the AD plant site, which will enhance soil microbial diversity whilst maintaining yields sustainably.