The UK is a nation of horse lovers. Estimates suggest that the UK horse population is around 796,000, which makes us second only to France in the 28 EU member states. That’s one horse for every 12.4 people! Anyone who owns a horse will know that they produce a great deal of waste. A typical horse will excrete 7.5 tonnes of manure per year and will get through around 3.5-4 tonnes of bedding. Horse bedding comes in many forms including wood shavings, straw, miscanthus and shredded paper.
Collectively, this means that as a nation we produce around 8.75 million tonnes of residues from keeping horses – that’s a lot of biomass. In many cases, this is a valuable fertiliser and, once composted, can be spread back on the land. However, this is not always possible or practical. In these situations, an alternative disposal method (with a significant 'added value' element) would be to burn the manure mix in a compliant multi-fuel biomass boiler. This should help stable owners make savings against their current heating bills, as well as also being eligible for the Government’s non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which provides rebates for each unit of renewable heat used in an eligible building.
As with all biomass fuels used under the RHI scheme, you would need to prove the sustainability of the fuel - which is where SFR steps in - and provide evidence that your fuel meets emissions thresholds for nitrogen oxides and particulates when burnt in your chosen boiler. We have produced another blog explaining this.
In the right circumstances, this is a massive opportunity and could turn a tricky, costly problem into an additional revenue stream for stables. Please give us a call if you would like some advice and guidance on making more from the cheap and plentiful biomass resource that is literally on your doorstep.
A useful good practice note for equine waste management has been produced by the Cotswolds Conservation Board