Northern Ireland Executive loans nearly £10m to AD plant

A new £23 million (€29.6) anaerobic digestion (AD) plant is being planned in Northern Ireland to process 25,000 tonnes of poultry litter a year.

The Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved government of Northern Ireland, has pledged to loan £9.3 million to Connective Energy Holdings, who have hired Williams Industrial Services to construct the plant at Ballybofey, County Donegal.

The facility will turn surplus poultry litter into low carbon biogas and organic fertiliser through AD.

According to the Northern Irish Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell, the project will help the poultry sector to grow and provide low carbon energy for some of Northern Ireland’s most important manufacturers.

"The plant produces biogas, which will power the trucks transporting the poultry litter and generate nearly 4MW of renewable electricity for manufacturing firms Bombardier and Montupet in Belfast, Newtownards, Newtownabbey, and Dunmurry, further supporting industry here,” Bell told The Irish News.

The plant will also produce liquid digestate, which is to be used as an organic fertiliser in adjacent commercial forestry and agricultural land.

The poultry meat sector is a significant contributor to the Northern Irish economy, but the litter it produces presents a significant environmental challenge.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill added: “With 6,000 people working in the poultry sector it has been a top priority for my department to find new ways to utilise poultry litter.”

“Such innovative and sustainable processes will allow the sector to flourish and meet the requirements of the EU Nitrates and Water Framework Directives,” she concluded.

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