Thursday, July 24, 2008

NEWS/Commercial PR - Renewable energy from the back end of a pig?

I just had to post this, not because of the porcine (omnivore) twist on a usually bovine (me)theme, but any PR with that as a headline gets my vote.

Plus the promise is nifty, too.

As received, E&OE:

Energy company redefines what waste is [ed - ok, that bit is boring]

green energy uk’s innovative electricity generators are creating renewable energy from a variety of waste materials, including vegetable matter, unwanted wood, landfill gas and even pig waste. These materials traditionally would sit in landfill, or as with pig waste, manure on fields, decomposing and giving off greenhouse gasses, but they are now being given extended life and purpose.

green energy uk’s generators, based from Cornwall up to Caithness in Scotland, treat the waste to remove and use the harmful greenhouse gasses to produce green electricity. At a pig farm in Aberdeenshire, pig waste is treated through an anaerobic digester where microorganisms inside break down the biodegradable material to create a green biogas. The biogas is burnt to power a turbine that makes green electricity.

Since 2003, Hereford-based electricity generator Longma [ed - hey... neighbours!] has provided a free waste vegetable oil collection service to schools, colleges, universities, pubs and restaurants in the region. Longma recycles the oil into environmentally friendly biofuels for generating electricity in Combined Heat and Power units (CHP). The electricity made is consumed locally, and the heat generated by the CHP units is used to heat the Longma factory and neighbouring industrial buildings. For every 100 litres of waste oil Longma collects, 90 less litres of fossil fuels is burnt.

green energy uk’s electricity generators using CHP units are utilising the heat they create by directing it locally to warm buildings and keep greenhouses at temperatures that allow for foods traditionally grown and imported from overseas to be grown in the UK. Old-fashioned power stations that use fossil fuel to make electricity also create heat, but this heat is not harnessed as it is with CHP units and is lost into the atmosphere as steam up cooling towers, making them terribly inefficient.

According to Greenpeace reports, “On average, our large, centralised power stations throw away two thirds of the energy they generate…. CHP is the most efficient way possible to burn both fossil fuels (usually natural gas) and renewable fuels (including biomass and biogas). Pretty much any organic matter can be used to produce biogas; we could be reaping energy from farm waste, and from all of the organic waste - like uneaten food - that makes up about half of our landfill.”

green energy uk does not use fossil fuels to make its electricity. The energy company is instead making the most out of what we throw away. Co-founder and chief executive for green energy uk, Doug Stewart, explains "By recycling organic waste into energy, utilising biomass and clean CHP methods, alongside our solar, hydro and wind power projects, we are trying to establish what we think is a stable, sensible, long-lasting energy solution that will maintain the modern quality of life and benefit future generations... In theory the UK has resources to run itself entirely from renewable energy.”

green energy uk has two tariffs. Dark Green is made from 100% renewable sources and has zero carbon emissions. Pale Green is a mixture of renewable electricity, Biomass from waste and green electricity from Ofgem-accredited clean Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators whose carbon emissions are 65% less than the national average for producing electricity. green energy uk facilitates investment in a wide range of technologies to produce renewable and green electricity. By the end of 2008, 95% of the electricity green energy uk supplies will come from generators only commissioned since green energy uk began in 2001.

green energy uk is the first and only energy company in the UK to offer customers the choice of 100% renewable or 100% green electricity.

green energy uk does not buy or sell any brown energy or energy created by Biomass from food crops.

green energy uk buys from 30 commercial generation sites, broken down as eight green CHP, nine hydro, four wind and nine biomass from waste.

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