25 January 2019

Digestate storage: what you need to know

By now, the benefits of using digestate in favour of artificial fertilisers and slurry is universally recognised. As the demand for the product has rocketed, so too has the need for a range of safe, innovative and flexible digestate storage options.

Storing digestate on-site is advantageous, especially considering the limited windows of opportunity for effective digestate spreading. Working with a team of farm contractors, it is possible to create bespoke storage facilities for digestate. These digestate storage solutions can be constructed to suit the needs of the farmer and land while following the relevant legislation.

Digestate storage solutions

There are a number of digestate storage solutions readily available to suit the needs of any farmer. These solutions range from universal options to more contemporary alternatives.

One of the most common methods of storing digestate is through the use of a portable tank. Tanks do not require a solid base, nor any ground preparation (other than ensuring the intended surface is level). Digestate storage tanks can be constructed by farm contractors in under 48 hours. As a temporary method of storage, tanks are ideal, as they allow farmers to plan digestate spreading in advance, while minimising the amount of product and vital nutrients lost.

Similarly, another common – but more permanent – method of digestate storage is through the use of a custom-built lagoon. These lagoons have to be equipped with a floating cover by law, to minimise the amount of gas and product escaping into the atmosphere and nearby lakes and rivers. Many lagoons have a size restriction imposed on them – in the range of 10,000m3 – but bespoke options are available.  

As already mentioned, there is also a range of bespoke digestate storage solutions available. Working with Eco Prospects, AWSM Recycling is committed to providing farmers with a solution to suit the requirements of any enterprise.

The importance of effective digestate storage

The implications of ineffective digestate storage can be detrimental to farmers. Through unfit storage, it is possible for ammonia gas to escape, and the overall quality of the product may be impaired. In addition to this, should accidental phosphate pollution (digestate reaching a used water source) occur, or if the product is applied to unsuitable land, the landowner will be fined heavily.

Digestate storage facilities should also be constructed in line with the Water Resources regulations 2010 (SSAFO), that recommend keeping digestate covered. The correct storage of digestate – ensuring that rainwater cannot contaminate the supply, ammonia emissions, subsequent odour pollution and general nuisance – will help keep these risks to a minimum.

Furthermore, under revisions to Defra’s Clean Air Strategy in 2018, farmers are now required to reduce the amount of ammonia gas being released into the atmosphere, as it risks ‘over-fertilising’ natural habitats and can be harmful to human health. Correct digestate storage, that has been installed by qualified farm contractors, can help minimise the amount of excess nitrogen and ammonia released, thus reducing the overall emissions of the farm.  

Utilising farming contractors for digestate storage

As previously mentioned, the construction of digestate storage solutions can be quick and easy, providing that a suitable farming contractor is employed. An experienced farming contractor is best suited for advising how to proceed with any potential digestate storage solutions, while highlighting any associated risks, and minimising the likelihood of any accidental contamination of the local environment.

AWSM Farming and AWSM Recycling are experts in providing bespoke digestate storage solutions, to ensure that our clients are storing their liquid fertiliser correctly and safely. As the sole UK importer of the GENAP silo system, we offer a unique edge other other providers of digestate storage.   

AWSM digestate storage solutions

AWSM digestate storage solutions are foil-lined and available in a range of different thicknesses and strengths, ensuring that we can create the storage tank or lagoon best suited to your enterprises. All of our digestate storage systems are completed to the highest standard while meeting the EA and SEPA requirement for the storage of liquid digestates.

For further information, or to discuss your digestate and spreading solutions, contact AWSM Farming today