A new £20m biogas plant which is due to become fully operational by early 2018 is being built outside the town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland, to process chicken litter.
Construction has already commenced and the facility will provide jobs, green energy, and recycling of nutrients, which is beneficial to the local environment.
The plant will generate 3MW of renewable electricity from up to 40,000 tonnes of chicken litter each year, and the electricity will be sold through the network and is enough energy to power 4,000 homes.
During construction, it is expected there will be 30 people working on site, and materials and services – including transport, accommodation, catering, landscaping and trade services – will be sourced locally when possible.
The project is being developed by Irish-based renewable energy development firm, Stream BioEnergy, and will be co-financed by funds managed by Foresight Group and Invest Northern Ireland. Xergi, a specialist supplier of large scale biogas plants with eight in the UK, will deliver the plant, and will also be a shareholder in the project.
Xergi CEO Jørgen Ballermann said: ”The plant will convert the chicken litter into biogas, which will be used to produce green electricity. At the same time the nutrients will become an environmentally friendly fertiliser to replace chemical fertiliser for farmers.
”Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are easily absorbed by the plants in the field, once the litter has been through the biogas process. This minimises the risk of the nutrients washing out from the fields into watercourses, and causing an adverse impact on the environment.
Due to the specific combination of nutrients in chicken litter, it has until now been necessary to keep the amount of chicken litter processed in biogas plants at a low level, and mixed with other feedstock types.
As one of Europe’s leading companies in the development of biogas technology, Xergi has created a process that makes it possible to run biogas plants fully on chicken litter as the only input feedstock.