How sewage could provide the answer to the UK's salad supply shortages

A British company believes sewage could provide the solution to the UK's salad supply shortages as a huge rise in wholesale gas prices has impacted growers. Oasthouse Ventures has huge greenhouses in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, which extract heat from the sewage at local treatment works, transferring it to heat pumps at their sites.

This provides the majority of the heat needed to grow peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The move comes as the National Farmers' Union warns Britain is facing its lowest year for salad production since records began.

Growers who rely on gas to heat their greenhouses have been hit by a 156% rise in wholesale gas prices since 2019. This is partly why the country experienced shortages of some fruit and vegetables in supermarkets at the beginning of this year, which means the UK continues to be hugely reliant on imports for salad and fresh produce.

Ed Moorhouse, business development manager at Oasthouse Ventures, says their method of extracting heat from sewage provides greater stability than relying on gas. He said: "Our greenhouses are not subject to geopolitics and global fluctuations in the hydrocarbon market that have shut many greenhouses in the UK and abroad, one of the key reasons we had shortages this spring.


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