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Renewable energy generator in Warwickshire lands national award

A business, on the border of Rugby and Coventry, has generated national interest in its renewable energy source by landing a major award.

Channing Digester Ltd, based at Brandon Grange Farm, was the National Winner in the Problem Solver Award category in the 2022 Chamber Business Awards, organised by the British Chambers of Commerce, for the way it has diversified its business to generate renewable electricity from farm crops.

The farm is run by brothers Alistair and Andrew Channing, having been a family farm for more than 100 years and the judges commented particularly on how they can set a national example for the agriculture sector.

Just over a decade ago, they decided to phase out the farming of potatoes and their dairy herd and took the decision to invest in an anaerobic digester, which can utilise anything from manure to food waste, and turn it into electricity.

They now farm around 900 acres worth of maize each year and also buy in maize from other local farms to feed into the digester.

It generates 499 Kilowatts per hour and is fed back into the grid as well as powering the family home on the farm. They are keen to expand this by an extra 1MW but with options to feed back into the grid limited, they are looking to local businesses who may want to buy from them direct.

Alistair said: “We were thrilled to pick up the national award through the British Chambers of Commerce. Energy supply and energy costs are a hot topic right now and we believe we can do even more than we are already.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t the capacity to be able to sell any more electricity into the grid, which is something we believe has to change.

“However, we can see an opportunity for us to work directly with businesses in the local area where we could run a cable from the farm to their premises and sell electricity directly to them at a fraction of the cost of what they will be paying now.

“We hope this award helps to raise the profile of what we are doing and we would encourage businesses in the area to get in touch.”

Channing Digester, which was just one of eight national winners, received a personal video message from Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and will collect the accolade at a special event in December at the London Stock Exchange.

Three further businesses from Coventry and Warwickshire won regional awards with the British Chambers of Commerce. Premier Health Products won the Global Player Award; The Wigley Group won Community Champion Award; and PET-Xi won the Equality Trailblazer Award.

Corin Crane, chief executive at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the businesses that picked up regional British Chambers of Commerce Awards. They are all doing fantastic work in their sectors and are great ambassadors for Coventry and Warwickshire.

“Channing Digester went one better and picked up a national award, which is an amazing achievement.

“They provide a renewable source of electricity – something that we need to do much more of – and by winning this national award it should put even more spotlight on them and the opportunities available to businesses in the region who could work with them.”

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Pictured: Alistair Channing of Channing Digester

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