The Irish branch of Italian anaerobic digestor manufacturer Demetra has been experimenting with a small-scale anaerobic digester on the Hayes dairy farm near Thurles, Co Tipperary since last September.

The unit, called AD Bag, consists of a tarpaulin pouch resting in a bowl dug out of the soil. All pumping and mixing equipment is housed in a 32ft container, removing the need for concrete construction.

Slurry and whey – a byproduct from the farm’s farmhouse cheese production – have been used as feedstocks to produce biogas.

“We were expecting 360l of gas per day, but we are achieving 404l,” said Demetra Ireland’s director Francesco Panzeri. He added that Demetra was soon planning to sell 18m-wide AD bags for €330,000 including installation costs.

“We produce cheese and yoghurt on our farm so we would have use for the heat,” farmer Donal Hayes told the Irish Farmers Journal, adding that he was investigating the technology for the future.

Such setups would benefit directly from the long-awaited RHI scheme. “There’s an incentive coming ... in 2013,” Panzeri joked.

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