Agricultural Anaerobic Digestion

The development of agricultural Anaerobic Digestion plants will have many positive implications for rural development and the environment. Adoption of Anaerobic Digestion on farms will not only reduce pollution of air, land and water, contribute toward our renewable energy and climate change targets, and diversify our national fuel mix, but it can also be a strategy to improve farm profit through additional income by using the biogas harvested to generate electricity
and heat.

 

The REFIT tariff announced by Minister Ryan in May 2010 proposes a rate of 15c/kWh for AD plants with CHP (Combined Heat & Power) producing less than or equal to 500kW. These tariffs are offered for 15 years with indexation but are not sufficient to stimulate the market for production of biogas from agriculture via Anaerobic Digestion in Ireland. Consequently, there has been little development in the anaerobic digestion and biogas sector in Ireland.

 

In contrast to this, the Northern Ireland government is promoting Anaerobic Digestion as a key technology for organic waste treatment and energy production. The new Renewables Obligation Order, effective from 1st April 2011, provides for higher prices for renewable energy through Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Renewable energy plants are awarded ROCs for each MW of electricity generated. The number of ROCs allocated to a plant depends on type of technology and its size.  Anaerobic digestion plants below 500kW receive 4 ROCs for each MW hour generated.  Plants between 500kW and 5MW receive 3 ROCs for each MW hour generated.  Electricity suppliers have an obligation to supply a minimum amount of energy from renewable sources, such as anaerobic digestion, or pay a penalty. 

 

Stream BioEnergy is seeking to develop agricultural scale AD/biogas plants in Northern Ireland. We would like to hear from landowners who have possible sites adjacent to farms with animal slurries and energy crops, on which anaerobic digestion/biogas plants can be developed.  We are also keen to speak to farmers and landowners considering development of an on-farm digester who are seeking strategic partners, as well as with crop growers who may be interested in contracts to supply feedstocks (grass, maize and other energy crops) to these plants.