It’s hard to imagine using animals to generate energy, but it happens. For example, manure from factory farms is burned as biomass or used in anaerobic digestion vats to produce biomethane. Animals are exploited to produce about 1% of the UK’s energy, which goes to around 60% of homes. Several of the big energy suppliers and so-called green energy companies have animal waste in their fuel mix.
But that’s only part of the story. Livestock farming is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK and around the world.
We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be greener and more ethical if animals weren’t used to generate energy?’ So, we reviewed all our energy sources and eliminated anything involving animals. Ecotricity is the only energy company in the world certified as vegan by both the Vegan Society and Viva!, the vegan charity.
What is vegan energy?
Simply put, vegan energy is energy produced without involving animals. Solar, wind and geothermal power all produce green electricity without using animals but gas can be more problematic.
Anaerobic digestion of green matter – certified by The Vegan Society and Viva! – is a genuinely green, vegan way to make biogas. This can be used to create electricity or further treated to make biomethane, which can be used as household gas. It’s what we’ll be doing in our new green gas mills.
What’s the difference between green energy and vegan energy?
The big problem comes when energy companies add animal by-products (silage, manure, etc) from the livestock factory farming industry to the mix.
It’s still green, theoretically, but it isn’t vegan and it isn’t right.
What’s the impact of livestock farming on the climate crisis?
In total, agriculture and deforestation are responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions – and animal farming is responsible for 60% of the emissions from agriculture.
By switching to a plant-based diet, we could easily free up enough land to have enough food for everyone. We could also rewild a significant amount of the countryside, rewetting peat bogs and boosting tree numbers in Britain, which are all valuable carbon stores for the planet.
Is your energy contaminated?
|Energy supplier||Animal waste in fuel mix||Feedstock details|
|Animal processing by-products|
|Animal manures and pig slurry|
|Animal manures and cattle slurry|
|Poultry litter and slurry|