Plans for ‘anaerobic digestion’ plant unveiled

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A LISBURN transport firm has revealed plans to invest over £3million in a new 500 Kilowatt anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at its base in Blaris Industrial Estate,

The planning consultant advising on the major scheme said the significant renewable energy investment will boost the competitiveness of the company and markedly reduce its carbon footprint.

Thomas Bell of planning consultancy Clyde Shanks says that the innovative project also promises to provide a boost to the local economy and to the agricultural sector in the wider Lisburn area.

“The site’s industrial context, its central location for drawing feedstock, and its location adjacent to a strategic arterial route, the M1, lends itself very well to anaerobic digestion from a planning policy perspective, and it is hoped that planning permission will be secured by April 2013,” he pointed out.

“The scheme promises many benefits; not only by enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of a major local employer, but also by providing jobs in the construction of the plant and a supply of bio-fertiliser for local farmers,” he added.

The planning application for the project was submitted in December. McCulla’s Managing Director Ashley McCulla, says that the investment is an important one for the company.

“This will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint, diversify our power supply and generate up to 30 construction related jobs and four operational jobs in a very tough marketplace. While many companies are consolidating during these tough times, we are confident that making this investment will be very beneficial not only to ourselves but to the wider community.”

“The move is a significant step in our ambition to promote sustainable and carbon reduced means to generate power for refrigeration. It is hoped that the granting of planning permission will allow us to generate our own renewable energy, converted from an organic mix of agricultural feedstocks in a very environmentally friendly and safe manner,” he added.

The anaerobic process produces renewable energy via a combined heat and power plant similar to that at AFBI (The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute) plant in Hillsborough, to power the McCulla complex, with surplus energy being sold back into the grid. The by-product, organic digestate, will be land-spread back onto farm land as a bio-fertiliser.