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Netherlands To Spend 150M On Biogas Project

The Netherlands government is investing in green energy by ploughing €150 million (£133.1 million) into a project that will turn cow poo into power.

Its Ministry of Economic Affairs confirmed Dutch dairy farmers will be able to help the country reduce its carbon emissions by leasing anaerobic digesters. This process uses bacteria to break down cow manure into biogas.

The investment could have far-reaching benefits for the nation’s energy usage as a whole, as its large agriculture industry accounts for as much as ten per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions through the release of methane from dairy farms.

The project kicked off at a 75-hectare family-run farm in Friesland, with farmer Pieter Heeg telling the Guardian: “Before, we just spread [dung] on the land. Now I process it, get energy from it and then fertiliser. This way, we make everything useful.”

The process works by using machines that break down the matter into biogas, and removing phosphates and nitrates from the poo, which farmers can use for fertiliser.

Farmers can then sell the biogas at a 12-year fixed price, subsidised by the government. Heeg anticipates the farm can make €10,000 a year through sales of the energy, the newspaper reported.

Heeg’s digester has already produced 9,342 kWh of electricity in the last 20 days, which can provide enough power for three homes a year.

This will help the Netherlands reach its target of generating 14 per cent of its power through renewable sources by 2020.

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