Posted on 12 Jun, 2020 by Jocelyne Bia
BioG UK launches AD investment through crowdfunding platform Abundance
Agrogen offers a significant opportunity to transition the UK anaerobic digestion industry to more sustainable feedstocks and help the UK “Build Back Better” after the pandemic.
BioG UK, which operates Agrogen, an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border, is inviting people to invest in the project, working with Abundance Investment Ltd, the UK’s leading regulated crowdfunding company.
The investment in Agrogen provides a significant opportunity to transition the UK AD industry to more sustainable feedstocks. It will be the first in a series of investments in a portfolio of AD plants owned and run by award-winning farmer Rob Greenow.
It is also Abundance’s first foray into AD, following many requests from its customers. The investment is an offer of debentures paying a return of 7.1% IRR for 16 years which seeks to raise up to £2.65 million. The proceeds will refinance the operational AD plant and fund upgrades to the technology allowing it to process a larger variety of farm waste.
The plant has an installed capacity to produce up to 250kw of electricity and 549kW of heat. It currently operates on a feedstock comprising maize (purpose-grown on local farms including where the AD unit is located) and locally sourced farmyard manures. The technology upgrade – a BioCrusher – has been developed by BioG GmbH, set up by one of Agrogen’s directors and based in Austria which leads the world in this technology. It breaks down the feedstock, allowing the plant to use a wider range of farm waste, particularly straw and slurry, displacing the need for purpose-grown maize. It will also improve the plant’s reliability and efficiency.
Rob Greenow, Director, Agrogen, said: “Agricultural ‘waste’ is a valuable resource, providing not only renewable energy but also fertiliser which can be used on local farms. We want to lead the AD industry by improving our environmental performance even further and the BioCrusher will help us do that. This technology, already used successfully in Austria, offers a greener and better way for farms using AD to generate energy from their waste products. We’re excited about enabling like-minded investors to share our enthusiasm!”
AD is a key circular economy technology on the path to delivering a Net Zero future. It works by using waste materials to generate biogas, which is combusted in a Combined Heat and Power Unit to generate heat and electricity. The digestate that remains is a nutrient-rich fertiliser which is used on the farm and neighbouring farms, so nothing is wasted.
In Agrogen’s case, the heat is used on the farm to dry logs sold for domestic use. The plant also receives an income from the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.
Bruce Davis, co-founder and Managing Director, Abundance, said: “AD is the unsung hero of the renewable energy sector and we have been looking for an investment in this sector for many years. People like Rob are showing farmers how they can make an important contribution to our green recovery – not only through producing homegrown food, but homegrown energy too. Agrogen is a great opportunity for investors to support a circular economy solution that can help UK agriculture to build back better after the pandemic.”
Rob Greenow has a portfolio of three AD plants, which are operated and maintained by his specialist agricultural and AD services company BioG UK. It also operates another large food waste plant. His business partner and Agrogen co-Director Josef Höckner runs BioG GmbH in Austria which has already helped over 250 AD plants internationally to run on more sustainable waste feedstocks.
The Agrogen plant was awarded 2018 “On Farm Biogas Plant of the Year” by the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, while Rob was a finalist in the Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year in 2018.
This investment is the first of a series that Rob proposes to launch on Abundance to refinance his existing AD installations and fund the expansion of the business. The technology has potential to be rolled out to many more AD plants in the UK, enabling them to run on a broader range of wastes, reducing the need for energy crops and helping UK farmers build a more circular farming economy.
The minimum investment in Agrogen debentures is just £5, and it is eligible to be held in an innovative finance ISA. To download an offer document, please visit https://www.abundanceinvestment.com/invest-now/agrogen
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Media contact: Sophy Fearnley-Whittingstall - email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 07979 368 238
Notes to Editors
About Abundance Investment
Abundance is a leading direct investment platform that is putting people in control of their money. People invest in individual projects that generate something good for the environment and society as well as bank-beating returns.
The investor chooses which project or business to invest in from just £5 and benefits from a financial return, while the world benefits from the growth of sustainable businesses.
Since launching in 2012, more than 6,000 people have invested over £100m directly into the projects they support via the Abundance platform, with over £25m returned to investors. In the process, Abundance has achieved a number of firsts. As well as being the world’s first FCA-regulated peer-to-peer investment company, it is also the first investment platform to offer a dedicated peer-to-peer investment SIPP and launched the UK’s first innovative finance ISA for renewable energy investments on November 1st 2016.
Abundance also became a certified B Corps in 2018; these are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
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