ETF project - Langage Farm

Langage Farm is situated in Smithaleigh near Plymouth in Devon and is owned by the Harvey family. Langage Farm has been a working farm for over 900 years, and is mentioned in the Doomsday book. Diversification began in 1980 when business began to turn the milk from their cows into clotted cream. 

The Langage herd is over 250 head of Jersey and Guernsey cows, producing milk which is used to manufacture a large range of products other than clotted cream, including yoghurt and ice-cream, which is sold to both local customers and nationally. 

Langage Farm proposed building an AD plant adjacent to its factory where it would use waste produced through manufacture of the products, manure from the herd and food waste from local municipal and commercial collections to make renewable energy and valuable fertiliser products.

Part of the project included an innovative and low energy digestate drying process to help with the manufacture of fertiliser. The renewable electricity and heat help to reduce the carbon footprint of the products that are made in the factory.

Project updates

Project Build - March 2011

This is March, and we have marched on and achieved just what we had set out to in the previous month. We are now the proud holders of a temporary permit to receive and process waste as permitted by Animal Health! One hundred and fifty words couldn’t describe the weight that has been lifted off our shoulders! Thank you for your support to the present time.


We have had a few visits from Animal Health this month in an attempt to gain our permit, these visits have proved to be both testing and helpful. At the beginning of each visit the hope of a permit is held though we found the standards to be rightly high and sought to attain such a standard to gain our permit. Tying up all lose ends and getting the site in a final operational state before permitting can be completed can be challenging though we managed and have come out of the process smiling.

The commissioning of the plant is finished. The new challenge lies in the proving of the systems and how well it all sings together. Our hope is that it all works fine though we know this possibly not going to be. We have already seen issues arise since the permit has been issued though we have worked hard to remediate all such hiccups. We are looking forward to ironing out further problems and continuing to receive and process waste this month.


Project Build - February 2011

February has seen us fight the weather in preparation for animal health inspection. Filling the tanks and getting them up to temperature in anticipation for feedstock when we open and accept waste. Commissioning of the weighbridge system. Procurement of goods for setup and operation of the plant and completion of QMS system. This sounds like we are ready to go though there is yet much to do on site. 

The progress made in the flesh is often not matched when the machinery is switched on and in saying so many jobs have needed to be revisited once they have been completed. Commissioning often is a time wrought with the exposure of niggles in the system which need addressing and so as we just begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel it moves away again! This has been a bone of contention between us and the contractors though with smooth but firm words we have arranged the desired outcomes and will hopefully be on time for our arranged animal health visits.

The next four weeks focus is to primarily ready the inner hall, and all associated primary processing machinery. Pressure test all piping and get the rubber on the road in preparation for the turn of the key. We are hoping for the month of march to produce us with a permit to receive and process waste.

Project Build - January 2011

January has seen the testing and commissioning of multiple pieces of machinery within the facility. Pressure testing of pipe works has commenced, and amendment of various failures as discovered by this pressure testing has taken place. This brings Feb to mind with the possibility of commissioning further related plant and the hopes of start up asap!

The business of the month was the general challenge with presentations to deliver, commissioning to organise and tours to guide while over and above the general run of the build, the month has been hectic and has been a fast start to the year, though this is good as we see the end drawing nearer.

Key issues for the next month are:  Commissioning, commissioning, commissioning. Snagging and refining smaller issues as required. Hopefully permitting by Animal Health to take place. Our technology provider is coming over to help us validate systems. Groundworks.

The future is looking bright!

Project Build - December 2010

This month has seen a move forward with the filling of one of the tanks taking place; this marks the beginning of a period of observation of structural integrity of the tank and a further observation on all associated plant and equipment. The result has so far been positive and we are looking forward to the rest of the tanks displaying the same level of build quality once filled.

The biggest issue this month has been temperature and the duration that one can work outside in cold snowy conditions in the wind. The workforce suffered some serious weather in terms of cold this month. We still have Jan and Feb to get through though, so the worst may yet be to come. Hopefully not for the sake of those outside.

Our key project focus for the next month is getting tanks to achieve mesophilic temperature followed by a further filling of tank two with waste from the municipality or industry.

All is well and we are hoping for a good start to the New Year with better weather conditions and higher temperatures.

Project Build - November 2010

Our main achievement over the last month has been cladding the waste reception pit, this is of importance as without the pit being clad, no waste can be received; other achievements were fabricating and erecting the biogas bladder housing frame alongside the completion of much of the on tank pipe works.  Begin of bio-filter construction.

Installing the hopper to the rentek system, required considerable manpower and equipment,  and was a risky job to undertake. Working at 6m above floor level hanging a conveyor from the roof, load spreading for each attachment point required calculating, that was the easy job. Installation when considering the location of the instalment proved to be incredibly challenging but satisfying once the job was done.

Our main focus for the coming month will be putting the finishing touches on earlier works alongside progressing on the construction of the bio-gas store and bio-filter.

The project is going smoothly at the moment and dry weather has been on our side still. Nice blue skies to see but freezing for having them!

Project Build - October 2010

Shuttering and pouring the hard standing around the waste receiving area, this has not only been a challenge but a pain too as this has restricted access to the entire site. Now that the pouring is complete, the progress of the site is much more tangible as the concrete hard standing has such a stark visual impact. The weighbridge has also been installed as a part of the same phase of the build.


The rush to get the pouring done before the cold closes in on us (extreme cold compromises the integrity of concrete and should be avoided at all costs) while already working considerably challenging ground conditions, this has seen us shed a bead or two of sweat despite the temperatures.

Progress on the pouring was adversely affected by the issues encountered last month with the theft of our cabling. This caused us to postpone pouring in order to re-lay cables. 

Our key focus for the next four weeks is to put the finishing touches on earlier works alongside progressing on the construction of the bio-gas store and bio-filter.

Project is going smoothly at the moment and dry weather has been on our side quite recently.

Project Build - September 2010

A good leap forward with the installation of multiple pieces of machinery has given us the advantage of being able to work indoors on the installation of these machines, this has been of exceptional good fortune as the weather has been violently opposed to much or any outdoor work. The hard standing was originally to be layed, though this has since been postponed. 


The theft of our cabling thanks to the current high value of copper in international markets has not only set us back but also had a negative financial implication for us. This means a considerable amount of time will need to be re-invested in cabling and the installation thereof. Our local travellers paid us a timely visit.

Our key focus for the next four weeks is to lay the hard standing, install the weigh bridge among numerous other installations

The project is proving challenging at times, though the end is not as far away as the beginning. 

Project Build - March 2010

The improved weather has enabled us to finalise all of the drainage on site  so that we have been able to backfill around most of the tanks, so we can no walk about now without the need for wellington boots.

Due to previous delays we have started to work on Saturdays to enable us to catch up on lost time, and with the improved weather also contributing the progress on site is advancing well.

The portable framed building is due for delivery in April so we are now making sure that the footings and the complex base are all in place and complete.

Project Build - February 2010

Connection to the Grid is due to be completed by the end of July, and the generator and switchgear in place by the end of June bringing power to the site.

The ground works for the reception hall is well underway with the reception pit making great progress. The main bulk of the reception hall is being built off site and wont be delivered until ground works are complete.


Project Build - January 2010

Progress on site is advancing steadily with the 3 digester tanks completed and the fitting of the internal scraper paddles installed by the end of the month.

Both the storage tank and the ground works for the reception hall; are progressing well, all delays which had previously been caused by the poor weather were slowly being caught up with and we are pleased with the overall progress on site.


Above, one of the digesters nearing completion.

Project build - December 2009

Although the weather has been rather poor over the last month or so, however due to it falling mostly over the holiday period, it did not manage to disrupt progress as much as it could have done. Now we are hoping for as little rain as possible so that the excavations for the main building can begin.

Health and Safety is important in any build, and to keep standards high on site all staff were given a refresher course after the Christmas break, and although this meant time lost in the build, we felt it necessary.

The closer the project gets to completion the more interest we are having from potential sources of feedstocks, and we can already see potential for the business to expand in future years.


Project Build - November 2009

Despite the appalling weather conditions which the region has faced, building works continue to progress with the tanks slowly emerging out of the ground.

The emergence of the tanks appears to be coinciding with more interest in the project from possible feedstock providers, which could result in us having to turn away contracts.

Project Build - October 2009

The wet weather and tight deadlines have meant that work has had to continue into the night on more than one occasion to complete the civil works to take delivery of the tanks.

The Euro to Sterling exchange rate has been one of the issues which has had to be tackled this month, with rises in forecasted costs making a significant dent in the budget. We are now revising other European purchases aiming to get better deals or payment terms to take into consideration the fluctuations in exchange rate.

The experience of the construction team has really been proven this month keeping the project running smoothly.