Stream BioEnergy is starting construction on its £23 million biogas facility at Ballymena in Northern Ireland. This plant represents a major investment for Northern Ireland and will bring a number of benefits to the community, in the form of local jobs, renewable energy, and other important environmental benefits through the recycling of nutrients.
Once complete, the biogas plant will generate 3MW of renewable electricity. The electricity will be sold through the electricity network and will be enough to power up to 4,000 homes, diversifying Northern Ireland’s fuel mix, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The plant will process up to 40,000 tonnes of chicken litter each year using state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion technology and will be operated to the highest standards. The chicken litter will be sourced locally from the Ballymena area from Moy Park, one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers.
The project will be co-financed by funds managed by the UK’s Foresight Group (including Recycling and Waste LP, in which the UK Green Investment Bank is a cornerstone investor) and Invest Northern Ireland. Xergi, a Danish specialist supplier of large scale biogas plants, will be responsible for delivering the plant, and is also a shareholder in the project.
Local companies in Northern Ireland have been appointed to deliver engineering and construction services and, during peak construction, it is expected that there will be 30 people working on site. When operational, the plant will employ 12 full time members of staff. In addition, a number of off-site jobs will be created through a range of professional services that the plant requires. The plant is due to become fully operational in 2017.
A major challenge currently confronting the poultry sector in Northern Ireland is the safe disposal of growing volumes of chicken litter in an environmentally-friendly way. The Ballymena plant will make a significant contribution towards solving this.
“Where excessive nutrients from animal slurry’s or chicken litter are spread on land they can cause pollution of our watercourses and have a negative impact on the environment”, explains Kevin Fitzduff, MD of Stream BioEnergy. “A more sustainable way of managing chicken litter is urgently needed and the Ballymena plant will help achieve that at a local level”.
Although other similar plants and operators do utilise some level of chicken litter as a feedstock, this will be the first plant in the world to run exclusively on chicken litter using anaerobic digestion, a proven, safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable technology that is widely used throughout Europe, combined with nitrogen stripping technology.
“This project represents a significant investment by all involved in Northern Ireland. It will deliver important benefits for the community and the environment, and we are delighted that we are able to progress this with our partners” adds Fitzduff.
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