Renewable Energy from Agriculture

is a farmer controlled business growing and promoting energy crops in the UK.

 

 REFA was formed in 2001 to bridge the gap between agriculture and the energy industry. With a growing demand for low carbon fuels in both the liquid and solid energy markets we saw a good opportunity for farmers to diversify into energy crops and to produce traditional crops with the energy market in mind. The only problem was that generally speaking agriculture did not understand Industry and vice versa.

 That is where REFA come in.

 

We have two main areas of activity

1/ Biodiesel:

 REFA produce and contract oilseed rape for the Greenergy ‘Field to Forecourt’ ™ contract. The ‘Field to Forecourt’™ contract is the first of its kind in UK and connects production of traditional oilseed rape to the fossil diesel market by incorporating the vegetable oil into fossil diesel to produce a 5% biodiesel blend. The farmer grows conventional ‘00’ oilseed rape under Biodiversity Guidelines that were drawn up with consultation with RSPB. These growing guidelines are used to promote the environmental benefits of Biodiesel made from domestic oilseed rape.

 

    The development of a domestic UK based Biodiesel business based on domestic oilseed rape has been a slow process but will come to fruition with the construction of the Greenergy Biodiesel plant at Immingham in 2006.

 

  If you would like to know more about ‘Field to Forecourt’™ contracts go to www.greenergy.co.uk or contact REFA admin@refa.org.uk

 

2/ Short Rotation Coppice Willow:

 

   UK farmers are facing increased costs of production of most of their produce due to a number of factors but they are mainly related to high energy costs and some food safety aspects. The value of the produce is not increasing to match these higher input costs as generally speaking the costs of production elsewhere in the world are not as high.

 

  With returns from cereals and other traditional crops under constant pressure REFA believe one way for farmers to maintain profitability is to grow low input crops.

 

 One such crop is Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) Willow. SRC is basically fast growing trees that are harvested every three years. After harvest they grow again. The wood is then used to produce either heat or electricity or both. Obviously the use of wood as an energy source is not new but the UK’s power stations are fuelled by coal, gas, oil or nuclear not wood. The wood can be processed and burnt with the coal in a process known as co-firing or purpose built power stations could be built to use the SRC and other biomass sources without additional processing.

 

  The lack of supply of wood at prices competitive to fossil fuels has been a hurdle for development of so called ‘Biomass’ power stations. This has now changed with higher fossil fuel prices and a combination of a number of government policies such as the introduction of Renewable Obligation Certificates and the Kyoto Protocol.

 

 In 2005 SembCorp Utilities announced it was to build a 30Mw £60m biomass power station on Teeside known as Wilton 10. The power station will burn in the region of 180,000 oven dried tonnes of wood per year but most importantly for agriculture in the region it will require 30,000 oven dried tonne of SRC per year. Greenergy have signed an exclusive 10 year supply contract with SembCorp and REFA are the on farm contractor for Greenergy.

 If you would like to grow for Wilton 10 please contact REFA admin@refa.org.uk

 

 

We are also in talks with other potential end users of SRC so you do not have to be in NE England to grow SRC. We would however not recommend growing SRC without having a contracted end market.

 

 We believe that the low input cost aspects of SRC offers farmers the opportunity to produce a crop that will show better returns than other conventional crops.

 

 

 

Renewable Energy From Agriculture

Cote Nook Farm

Sedgefield

Stockton-On-Tees

TS21 3HL.

 

Telephone: 01740 623300

Fax: 01740 621100

Email: admin@refa.org.uk