Questions about the project
1How long is the Share repayment period?
If the AD plant performs better/worse than predicted, the length of the repayment period may be naturally shortened/extended, but the rate of interest (thus the Member’s rate of return) will remain unaffected.
2Will the interest rate vary?
No. The interest rate is the same for each Member irrespective of the size of the investment. It will not change except in extraordinary circumstances, for example in the case of failure of the project, winding-up of Lower Park Farm Co-operative, massive market base rate fluctuations, etc. The scheme may pay no interest at all only if the AD plant is a complete failure and Lower Park Farm Co-operative is at risk of being wound up.
3 Can I own Shares on behalf of children?
You can hold Shares on trust for children. You should seek independent advice on the tax consequences of this.
4What happens to my Shares if I die?
On the death of a Member their Shares up to £5,000 can be transferred to an individual nominated in writing who qualifies to be a Member of Lower Park Farm Co-operative. Any remaining Shares above the £5,000 will be withdrawn and their personal representatives paid the value of Shares and any outstanding interest as soon as Lower Park Farm Co-operative is able. If you have owned the Shares for more than two years you may be entitled to 100% business property relief on your Shares and therefore not pay any Inheritance Tax on them.
5Who will run the plant?
The day to day running of the AD plant has been subcontracted to the Farmer who is contractually obliged to compensate Lower Park Farm Co-operative if the plant underperforms.
6Who owns the land on which the AD plant is to be built?
he site belongs to Richard and Sadie Tomlinson and will be leased to Lower Park Farm Co-operative.
Questions about the digester
1How often do you have to feed the digester?
We feed the digester between three and four times a day, depending on how much gas it is producing.
2How much muck does the digester have each feed?
The digester has 20 tones of cow slurry and between 8 and 10 tones of dry material mixed in with it.
3Is it just cow slurry that goes into the digester?
No the cow slurry is the “yakult” it provides the good bacteria and the liquid. We mix waste silage, chicken muck, and used digestate with the cow slurry, to make a thick soup.
4Where does the chicken muck come from?
The chicken muck comes from local farms, that produce far more than they can use on their own land.
5How often do you check the control panel?
Every time we feed the digester, and then several times during the day and evening on our mobile phones.
6How do you know how much gas is in the gas tank?
The gas holder has an electronic sensor inside, this measures the volume of gas that we have in reserve.
7What happens to the gas and does it need any treatment, cleaning or can it go straight to the engine?
The gas is being constantly fed into the engine and any excess gas is stored in the inflatable gas holder on top of the second tank. We dose the digester every day with a very small amount of mineral to help improve the gas quality. When the gas leaves the gas holder it goes through a chiller too dry the gas and reduce its temperature, it then goes through a carbon filter to extract some impurities in the gas before it enters the CHP engine.
8What is the HP of the engine? How much power can it generate?
The CHP (combined heat and power) engine produces 250 kW of electricity per hour, 1 kW converts to approx. 1.34 Horse, so the engine produces 335 HP.
Questions about the farm
1How many cows do you have?
We have 740 cows and a similar number of beef and young stock.
2Do you still have the Donkeys?
Yes we still have six donkeys in with the cows.
3When do the cows go outside?
As soon as grass quantity and ground conditions allow in the spring, typically mid-March and then up until early winter, again depending on grass quantity and ground conditions but typically end of October early November.
4What do you feed the cows in the winter?
We make Herbal ley grass silage and Whole-crop silage, which is a mixed of Oats, Beans and Vetch. We then supplement the forage with corn which is a mixture of rolled Oats, rolled peas and soya bean meal.
5When do you milk the cows?
We milk the cows twice a day, starting at 4.45am and 3.00pm
6What does the feedstock cost?
Organic corn is typically £100 per tonne more expensive than conventional, our corn mix costs us £350 per tonne and we feed 1.2 tones per cow a year.
7Does the farm get its electricity for free?
No we buy our electricity from Lower Park Farm Co-op Ltd, at the same price as the Co-op sells it to Good Energy Ltd. So the farm essentially gets it electricity at half price.
8What other benefits does the farm get from the digester?
We get the uplift in fertiliser value of the digestate. We get a nominal rent of £1000 Year. We get 50% of any electricity revenue over the budgeted 75%. We get to use the heat recovered from the CHP and the gas boilers. We get any additional RHI revenue over what was in the budget.