Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column on Green Matters for us.There is some good news at last on the environmental front from green energy supplier, Ecotricity. This small company supplies electricity only from renewable sources and is going ahead to produce ‘green’ gas from, of all things, grass.
Permission has been granted for them build their first ‘Greengas mill’ and there are more requests for permission in the pipeline, including plans for two gas mills on the site in Lancashire that the government has earmarked for fracking, against the wishes of the local council and community.
Gas will be produced by the anaerobic digestion of grass. This is the decomposition of organic material without the presence of oxygen, resulting in the production of bio-methane gas which will be ‘scrubbed’ to remove some of its carbon dioxide. As this gas is from newly grown grass, carbon dioxide has been sequestered by the crop during its growing time and the carbon dioxide produced when it is burnt will be sequestered by the next crop. It is not like fossil fuels which have been removed from the ground.
The grass will be sourced from marginal land and lower quality arable farmland. The material that is left after the gas has been removed is an excellent natural fertiliser which will be returned to the fields to improve soil quality and to reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.
We already produce green gas from waste food and animal excreta up to about 5% of our needs so making green gas from grass will cut carbon emissions, make the UK energy independent, support food production by improving soils, create wildlife habitats and support farmers.