Renewable Energy

Pig production can offer other opportunities for generation of renewable energy, both from the animals and the site itself. 

Housed livestock produce heat; this is exhausted by the ventilation process and contained in urine and excreta. On all but the very warmest days young pigs require supplementary heating, whilst at the same time exhaust air is expelling heat energy. Opportunities exist for recovering heat from exhaust air by employing heat exchangers; this heat can then be used to either warm incoming air or captured for distribution elsewhere within the unit.

Slurries and manure heaps are another heat source with potential for exploitation using heat pumps.  Besides capturing energy, cooling slurry by extracting heat also reduces ammonia emissions so improving the atmosphere in piggeries built over slurry pits.

Heat pump technology and modern manufacturing techniques now mean that both ground source and air to air heat pumps can be a competitive alternative to conventional oil or gas fired heaters in piggeries. 

The remote location of farm sites, often with unused land can make them suitable locations for installation of wind turbines to generate electricity.

Farm building roofs with their large often uninterrupted surface areas, are solar energy traps with a potential waiting to be exploited. In mainland Europe it is not uncommon to see farm buildings covered in photovoltaic cells or conventional water solar panels. The potential exists to further exploit solar energy in the UK.

Renewable technologies

BPEX have produced a range of factsheets and case studies about renewable energy technologies. Click on the links below to view these:


Financial incentives

The Government want to encourage the uptake of renewable technologies therefore in April 2010 decided to introduce a financial incentive with a guaranteed rate of payment for electricity generated from qualifying renewable systems. The introduced tariff has been called the Feed-In Tariff and dramatically reduces the payback time therefore making renewable energy a financially viable investment.

The Government have also introduced a second tariff called the Renewable Heat Incentive which makes payments based on heat generation from qualifying renewable technologies. ‘There are two schemes - domestic and non-domestic’. Click here for more information.

Financial assistance - Position At October 2011

The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme provides 100% first year tax relief on capital expended on many renewable technologies.

The Carbon Trust offers Energy Efficiency Financing which helps companies invest in energy efficient equipment by offering low interest loans which offer a flexible repayment scheme.

Further information to that provided by BPEX about Climate Change Agreements can be found by clicking here.

Further Information

Getting warmer: a field trial of heat pumps (The Energy Saving Trust - September 2010) - The Energy Saving Trust's heat pump field trial is the most wide ranging monitoring exercise of domestic heat pump installations and customer feedback undertaken to date in the UK.

The trial was launched in July 2008 to monitor the performance of 83 heat pumps installed in UK homes for a period of at least 12 months.

Photovoltaics in the UK: An introductory guide for new consumers (Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford)

NNFCC (National Non-Food Crops Centre) - the UK's national centre for renewable fuels, materials and technologies

IEA Bioenergy Task 37 - a source of information on biogas production, AD plants and energy utilisation. The Task 37 website contains many useful publications on renewable technologies.

Biogas Upgrading Technologies - Development and Innovations (Task 37 Publication)

Planting and Growing Miscanthus - Best Practice Guidelines

Rural Community Energy Fund - supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.

Solar panels


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