Organic farmer generates energy surplus

Wesenmatt/Hausen am Albis ZH – The Blattmann family’s organic farm generates more electricity with a biogas plant than the farm consumes. The challenge was to obtain a permit for the construction. The entire livestock population in the region could supply energy for a fifth of the population.

Organic farmer Gregor Blattmann successfully uses a customized biogas plant to generate energy on his farm. The specially configured system converts slurry and manure from the company's own livestock into energy and produces more energy than the farm needs, according to an article in the "Anzeiger für den Bezirk Affoltern". The entire livestock population in the region could generate energy for a fifth of the population.

According to the article, the development of a customized biogas plant has encountered hurdles with regard to approval. "We didn't invent anything new, the biggest effort was to get approval," the farmer is quoted as saying. Regulations could put the brakes on an innovative project "if it doesn't fit in with existing standards".

While industrial standards exist for large-scale systems, the Blattmann family's system is not yet regulated. "We first had to prove that it met the standards for fire and explosion protection, air pollution control and water protection." According to the article, however, the authorities never put obstacles in the way, but sought solutions in an area that was "uncharted territory" for everyone. Ultimately, the Blattmann family worked with the licensing authorities to develop standards so that the rules for new projects are "now much clearer", according to Blattmann.

In combination with solar panels, the surplus energy generated could supply regional households with electricity via the heating network. "Two cows provide the energy for a household of three every year," farmer Blattmann is quoted as saying. The cattle farm on the Albis has been working towards climate neutrality since 2008 and has been producing solar power on its roofs since 2015. He is now hoping for the new electricity law, according to which even remote farms will be connected to the grid. ce/heg

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