Many farmers took advantage of government incentives to install Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants on their farms and in the last four years, more than 1,000 of these plants have been built.

This year, however, the government removed the incentives that made the construction of new plants viable, and consequently, many of the constructors either pulled out of the market or scaled back their operations.

But these plants are invaluable to farmers and provide numerous advantages such as allowing them the disposal of waste in an ecologically friendly manner, saving the cost of disposal; and an additional source of revenue from sales of electricity and heat, and through recovery of the Fits and RHI tariffs via OFGEM.

With any investment, it is important to ensure that you maintain the asset for maximum efficiency.

N-ERGY specialises in operation and maintenance (O&M) services for the farming industry with a choice of flexible service plans to suit all needs along with tailored service options as well as remote monitoring of sites for faster response and diagnosis and technical support 24 hours a day.

There are three key focus areas that will help improve your return, as Keith Robertshaw, Business Development Manager at N-ERGY, highlights: “Fuel (gas quality), engine maintenance and the right electrical tariff are all crucial to generate strong income.”

Bio gas quality is fundamental, he explains: “We recommend that an activated carbon filter is installed – we see a big difference in engine condition when we undertake a major overhaul between engines with or without a filter.”

“Additionally, the gas quality is directly related to the feedstocks and the mix in the digester. Farmers regularly report poor running, misfiring and reduced output; this is typically as a result of poor gas quality and or low gas volume.”

N-ERGY has developed a low-cost service to help the farmer measure and maintain gas quality, and is making this available to existing customers.

“The gas engine needs to be maintained at its most efficient, which means regular servicing by specialist engineers. Smaller engines look like large truck engines, but are modified to run on biogas and to run at full load and constant speed for long life, so regular maintenance is vital.”

N-ERGY offers either fixed interval servicing in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations, or condition-based monitoring based on engine life, duty and measured parameters.

Keith explains: “Getting the best deal when you sell the electricity is difficult if you’ve got a smaller plant. We can help you get the best tariff for a low, annual fixed fee, without being penalised.”