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Chicken litter to power anaerobic digestion plant

Funds for two on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in Northern Ireland have been secured with investment from the Green Investment Bank (GIB), one of which will be fuelled solely by poultry litter.

The poultry litter site, a 3MW plant to be developed in Ballymena by Stream BioEnergy at a cost of £23.2m, is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

The Foresight-managed Recycling and Waste LP (RaW) Fund, in which GIB is an investor, has committed £8.7m with additional investment of £4.4m from Foresight’s AD EIS Fund, £8.7m from Invest Northern Ireland and £1.5m from Xergi.

The plant will create up to 100 jobs during the construction phase, with a further 11 available when the plant becomes operational in 2017.

Agriculture, environment and rural affairs minister Michelle McIlveen said: “It is a testament to our commitment to deliver a sustainable future for our agriculture sector. Projects such as this will play an important role in helping the poultry sector to address an environmental challenge.”

A further £1.8m is being invested in the 0.5MW Gorthill plant in County Londonderry from the same RaW fund and £1.8m from SQN Capital Management.

It is being developed by Williams Industrial Services and will use grass silage, poultry litter and cattle slurry as the feedstock.

The two plants are expected to produce 20,000MWh of renewable electricity a year, enough to power 5,000 households.

Edward Northam, head of investment banking at the GIB, said: “We expect to see more rural communities exploring AD as a way of diverting organic waste from landfill while becoming more self-sufficient. These latest investments bring the number of on-farm AD plants supported by the GIB to six, five of which are located in Northern Ireland, demonstrating the growing demand in the sector.”

Nearly half (46%) of the £50m RAW fund has now been invested in waste management projects. 

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