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Slurry turned to biofuel for power plant

An ice cream manufacturer has installed a plant that will transform slurry into biofuel to help power its Aberdeenshire plan.

Mackie’s of Scotland is installing a plant that will transform the slurry from its 400-strong herd of cows into biofuel to help power its Aberdeenshire plant.

The development of a 250 kW anaerobic digestion (AD) facility at the company’s dairy farm in Westertown, Rothienorman, currently under consideration, would make the firm entirely dependent on renewable energy.

The company has teamed up with scientists at Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Business Programme (BBP) to devise plans for the plant that will use thousands of tonnes of slurry to generate methane biogas which can then be transformed into electricity.

It is estimated that using AD will help the firm to save up to £300,000 in fuel costs as well as creating one new job and safeguarding two others

Mackie’s of Scotland is one of a number of businesses given advice and assistance by the BBP, part of Edinburgh Napier’s Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC) to help them turn waste products into fuel.

It approached the BBP seeking help to deal more efficiently with the slurry which is currently used as an agricultural fertilizer.

The company was an early adopter of renewable energy, introducing an 800 kW wind turbine in 2005 to supply electricity to the farm and ice cream production, followed by an additional two 800 kW turbines in 2007, which now supply 70 per cent of the firm’s energy needs and allow 62 per cent of their total output to be exported to the national grid.

A further 50 kW of solar panels were added earlier this year to complement the wind turbines to reduce grid usage during daylight hours when Mackie’s power usage is at its highest.