Innovation Key to Securing a Sustainable Future for Northern Ireland Poultry Sector

Mar 07, 2016

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell and Agriculture Minster Michelle O’Neill have welcomed a highly innovative project which will turn surplus poultry litter into low carbon biogas and organic fertiliser.

The Glenmore Project led by Connective Energy Holdings Limited, is an Anaerobic Digestion plant being constructed by Mallusk based company Williams Industrial Services. The plant will be fuelled by a range of organic feedstocks, including 25,000 tonnes per annum of poultry litter from Northern Ireland producers.

Welcoming the announcement Jonathan Bell said: “In 2012 DETI and DARD jointly launched the Sustainable Use of Poultry Litter (SUPL) project. Through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition and the more recent SUPL Loan scheme we have been able to encourage the development of commercially and environmentally sustainable solutions. The Glenmore project is the first to reach financial close under the scheme and will help our poultry sector to grow and provide low carbon energy for some of our 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.”

The Glenmore project, based in Ballybofey is an example of a circular economy approach to managing a bi product of livestock production. The £23million scheme includes £9.3million of support offered by Invest NI for the project under the SUPL Loan Scheme. The other product from the AD plant will be a liquid digestate which is to be used as an organic fertiliser in adjacent commercial forestry and agricultural land, in accordance with local requirements.

The Enterprise Minister added: “The Poultry Meat sector is a significant contributor to the local economy. The litter produced however presents a significant environmental challenge which could put the growth of the sector at risk. This groundbreaking project is an example of how Departments can work together to facilitate the development of innovative solutions to issues facing Northern Ireland.”

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We are committed to helping our agri-food sector grow in ways that are commercially and environmentally sustainable. 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.”

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