Fengrain says its ‘concrete cow’ will boost the economy, create green energy and give farmers options for their crops

PUBLISHED: 16:16 21 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:37 22 August 2014

The proposed 6.8 acres site. Picture: Steve Williams.

The proposed 6.8 acres site. Picture: Steve Williams.

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Wimblington is to get a multi million pound ‘concrete cow’, the description Fengrain has given to their proposed multi million pound anaerobic digestion plant.

The proposed site. Picture: Steve Williams. The proposed site. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wimblington is to get a multi million pound ‘concrete cow’, the description Fengrain has given to their proposed multi million pound anaerobic digestion plant.

“Feedstock is fed into the digester with 10 minute feeds every hour,” say the company. “The digester works like a cow’s stomach, breaking down the feedstock and generating methane; the bacteria are the same strains and need the same environment.”

Fengrain says 24 hour remote monitoring will ensure “the ‘concrete cow’ remains healthy and stable while paddles stir the digestate to keep the mix consistent”.

The company – which has 900 farmer members – has applied to Fenland Council for permission to build the plant on a seven acre parcel of land at its Hook Lane headquarters. Gas produced by the plant will be fed into the national grid whilst digestate is used as a form of manure.

Fengrain, Wimblington. Director Paul Randle.Picture: Steve Williams. Fengrain, Wimblington. Director Paul Randle.Picture: Steve Williams.

Some residents have opposed the plans with traffic, noise, smell and the visual impact being among those issues raised to the council.

But Fengrain director Paul Randle said the company “genuinely believes the plant will not adversely affect the area.

“It will also bring employment, green energy, investment and give local farmers alternative options for their crops.”

Mr Randle says there will be virtually no noise or smell from the plant and the site will be screened off to take away its potential visual impact.

Fengrain, Wimblington.Picture: Steve Williams. Fengrain, Wimblington.Picture: Steve Williams.

The digester will predominantly be fed on locally sourced beet and rye which would be transported by local hauliers.

While the plans will cause a slight increase in traffic, this will not compare to harvest levels and drivers are told to avoid going through the village, he added.

He said: “The plans will increase traffic – however the traffic will not enter the Hook or the village and will be considerably less than current harvest traffic and far more disciplined.

“If a vehicle goes through the village, we’ll not let it on the site.”

Figures presented by Fengrain to the council shows that around 85 per cent of the material associated with the plant will be delivered in 29 tonne lorries with the remainder arriving in 14 tonne tractor/trailer units.

With an input of 45,000 tonnes of materials this would result in 1319 lorry loads (2638 movements two-way) and 483 tractor/trailer loads (966 movements two-way) per annum.

Fengrain says high yielding energy crops are grown by their Co-operative farmer members such as beet, maize and rye and these will be delivered to the site and stored in the outside storage clamps and later used in the AD process.

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