Farmers Invited to View Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Ellon farmers open gates for RDI visit

Scottish farmers are being invited to view an on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in action when Aberdeenshire farmers Alastair and Magnus Sinclair open their gates to visitors next week.

As part of NFU Scotland’s successful Renewable Development Initiative (RDI), the Sinclairs will put their 500kWe Biogest anaerobic digester installed at Kinknockie Farm, Ellon on show next Tuesday (12 May).

This single tank (double ring) AD plant is currently fed on a mixture of slurry, ryegrass silage and whole crop silage grown at Kinknockie and a neighbouring farm. Digestate from the plant is spread on nearby fields, helping them deal with NVZ issues.

The open day will give farmers an opportunity to hear from Alastair and Magnus Sinclair in terms of the technology choice and the challenges they have encountered in securing grid connection and getting the plant built and operational. Specific focus will also be given to optimal grass growing and harvesting techniques employed by the Sinclairs.  

The day starts in the Ythan Hotel, Newburgh at 10.00am with presentations on construction, financing, grid connection and equipment followed by the farm visit in the afternoon.

This open day follows on from the RDI’s involvement in the All Energy renewables event staged at the SECC in Glasgow this week.  As well as operating a busy stand at the event, five Scottish farmers who had hosted previous RDI events spoke about their energy schemes.   

The Union’s three-year RDI project is designed to provide sound, independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy.  Through a programme of on-farm events, co-ordinated by Thomas McMillan of Smiths Gore, the initiative has already shown hundreds of Scottish farmers energy projects that are contributing to farm businesses or are at the planning stage.  

On-farm days held in 2014 and 2015 looked at wind, solar, biomass, gasification, hydro, biodiesel, heat pumps and anaerobic digestion.  Workshops built around the events have brought in experts to cover elements such as planning, finance, construction, grid connection, feedstock management, legal contracts, tax and community schemes.  A further on-farm event looking at wind energy will be held in Lanarkshire later this month.

Speaking ahead of the Kinknockie, Mr McMillan said:
“It has been hugely encouraging to see so many farmers, through the RDI, be prepared to open their gates to their fellow producers to allow others to see just what is involved in taking a project from planning, finance and consultation all the way through to completion and operation.  The Sinclair family are next in line to share their experience in farm-based renewables – both good and bad – and we welcome any farmer with an interest in anaerobic digestion to Kinknockie next week.”   

Notes to Editors

Forthcoming Renewable Development Initiative Event Wind - Andrew Stewart, Marshill Farm, Lanarkshire (21 May) Andrew Stewart became aware of the wind turbine development opportunity when he was approached by a wind developer but was not keen to lease the land to a developer due to the poor rates being offered. He decided to undertake the project himself and has secured planning and grid connection and is currently installing three wind turbines on the farm (one 2.3MW Enercon E-82 and two 800kW Enercon E-48). Andrew has developed the project through the CARES project as at the pre-planning stage was considered too high risk for commercial loans. This will be our second visit to Marshill Farm following an initial visit in February 2014.  Representatives from REIF and CARES will also be presenting at the event.

RDI events are FREE to farmers and land managers to attend. If you would like to book a space or join the mailing list, please email  or telephone: 0131 344 0888.   Timetables for these events will be emailed out in due course.

More details on our Renewables Development Initiative at:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 84/15

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