Supporting the operation of small-scale anaerobic digesters in Flanders

Setting up an EIP Operational Group that aims to enable Flemish farmers to operate small-scale anaerobic digesters more efficiently.

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Project summary: 

Small-scale anaerobic digestion makes it possible to convert manure into renewable energy. This allows farmers to produce their own energy and become self-sufficient. The technology is also beneficial because of its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure storage. 
An initial EIP-AGRI Operational Group (OG) called ‘Pocketfarmer’ was set up to encourage farmers, who own small-scale anaerobic digesters, to learn from each other and help them operate their installations more efficiently. At the end of that project, the project partners felt that many of the problems/challenges that had arisen during the project had not been entirely solved. Therefore a second EIP-AGRI project was set up to ensure that more farmers could benefit from this work on the challenges of setting up and operating small-scale anaerobic digesters.

Project results: 

By stimulating knowledge exchange on the exploitation of small-scale anaerobic digesters, the project will improve the performance of these installations on Flemish farms. It will improve the amount of renewable energy that farmers produce for their own consumption, while reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manure storage.
A total of 53 farmers are involved in the Operational Group, meaning that 77% of the 69 owners of active installations in Flanders are participating in the group.
Small-scale anaerobic digesters are common in other regions; thus, the initiative and methodology is applicable to other areas. An organisation working on biomass valorisation in Wallonia has already expressed its interest in the project and is considering setting up a similar initiative.