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town halls mull manure power

Several London boroughs said to be considering rolling out a network of biogas pipelines

Local Councils in London, Glasgow and Manchester are considering rolling out the UK's first biogas network, raising the prospect of homes and offices being heated and powered by manure.

According to Peter Kindt, director at Alfagy Ltd, a distributor of combined heat and power (CHP) systems, a number of councils are in talks with the company about emulating a flagship project in Germany that will create the world's first urban biogas network.

The German City of Lünen is currently installing a large scale 6.8MW anaerobic digestion plant capable of turning organic waste such as crop cuttings and manure into biogas. The gas will then be distributed via a new pipeline network to CHP units provided by engineering firm Schmitt Enertec, which will provide heat and electricity to local buildings.

The network is scheduled to come online this December and is expected to provide enough energy for 26,000 homes, reaching a sizable chunk of the city's 90,000 residents.

Alfagy, which is responsible for distributing Enertec's CHP units in the UK and Scandinavia, said a number of London boroughs and councils in Glasgow and Manchester were already in talks with the company about installing a similar network in the UK.

"What the Lünen projects shows is that this technology can work in a city," he said. "The CHP units are very quiet, muffled and camouflaged with plants so that they fit into the urban environment."

He added that it was too early to establish a timeline for rolling out the technology in the UK, but insisted that early interest had been very encouraging.

Earlier this year the government signalled its support for the roll out of over 1,000 anaerobic digestors across the UK, while a recent report from the National Grid argued that a £10bn nationwide biogas network fuelled by farm waste and sewage plants could prove a more cost effective means of harnessing renewable.

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