Ecotricity introduced the concept of making green gas from grass in Britain early last year and if the company’s application to Winchester City Council is accepted, the Green Gas Mill will pump £3 million into the local economy every year for the twenty years of its operation.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “We have to stop burning fossil fuels, and green gas will play a big part in helping us to achieve that in Britain – it’s good for our economy, because we’ll no longer need to import those expensive fossil fuels; it’s good for the environment, because it’s carbon neutral and creates new wildlife habitats; and it’s good for farmers, because it allows them to diversify, rely less on farming livestock, and build a more sustainable future.
“The world signed up to the limiting temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C at the Paris Climate Conference last year – that included a long term goal of being carbon neutral after 2050 and eventually carbon negative, which means taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we put in. They’re big ambitions – and green gas is essential to that vision.
“Sparsholt is one of the first Green Gas Mills we’re looking to build in Britain – one of the first in what will be a green gas revolution in this country. And what’s particularly special is that, together with Sparsholt, we’ll be helping to train the green gas engineers Britain will need.”
The Sparsholt College Green Gas Mill, fuelled by locally harvested grass, could produce enough clean gas to power the equivalent of 4,000 homes every year according to Ecotricity.
Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College principal, said: “We’ve carried out public consultation over the past four months with local councils, farmers and residents – and the feedback has been a mix of those who are very positive to those with concerns about the impact on local roads and the visual landscape.
“Creating our own green gas on site will massively cut our environmental impact and reduce our energy bills – which have made up an increasing portion of our budget over the past few years, money that could be better spent on educating our students.
“However, the fact we can share the financial and environmental benefits of this project with the local farming community is a massively positive outcome for the college.”
The company plans to create up to eight specialist professional jobs to run the Green Gas Mill, while the new supply contracts with farmers forproviding the grass and rye feedstock required to supply the anaerobic digestion process will also reinforce existing jobs.