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Energy Independent Farm project

The ESI and the wider University of Exeter are working with local partners, Bennamann (Project Lead) and Chynoweth Farm to demonstrate a comprehensive circular energy approach to farming. The 3 year ERDF project aims to demonstrate energy independent and sustainable farming starting with Chynoweth Farm in St Allen, then rolling out to other farms in Cornwall and beyond.

The project aims to:

  • maximise the use of on-site renewable energy resources in combination with animal waste, such as cow manure, to supply all the energy needed for the farm, taking the site off-grid and reducing operational costs;
  • deliver commercially viable net zero carbon energy products (biogas and liquid biofuel) from animal waste for local sale and distribution, providing an additional income to the farm business;
  • improve the sustainability of farmland management practice through minimisation of artificial inputs such as manufactured fertiliser, lowering operational costs and reducing pollutants;
  • provides site assessment methods and business models that will enable roll-out to scale across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the UK and the rest of the world.

To do so, researchers from the University of Exeter are developing methods to assess farm site specific energy demand, energy resource, micro-grid set up and the environmental impact (including Life Cycle Analysis) from farms after such systems are adopted. The resultant models will guide the phased install of Bennamann’s unique biogas systems along with other renewable technology to maximise the profits and sustainability of producing and selling bio-methane in more farms across Cornwall. This collaboration has already initiated innovative patents, business models and further industry collaborations for a whole systems approach to sustainable energy generation, storage, use and distribution.

Funding body

This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.