With 42 Anaerobic Digestion plants already up and running in Northern Ireland the region is already ahead of it's neighbours in Southern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales for the amount of AD Plants per captia.
There are a further 103 Anaerobic Digestion plants in currently in construction or already approved by the government which, once completed, will be capable of processing up to 1.4 million tonnes of feedstock per annum. According to ADBA, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bio-resources Association, the market had grown more than 2000% in the region over the past 6 years.
Speaking at the ADBA Northern Ireland Conference held in Belfast, Keith Finegan from Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Natural Environment Division, said that “Only 10% of Nitrogen ends up in the food chain and the rest of it is released in the air and water and creates ozone which has major impacts on the environment. Air pollution ammonia dropped slightly when CAP reform was brought in but has started to rise again. It’s a particular issue in Northern Ireland.” Finegan further stated that “If we get this nitrogen problem fixed everybody wins. There’s less people going to hospital, there’s less environmental damage and there’s more profitability for the farmers – it’s just getting a way forward which works for everyone.”
Industry leaders claim Anaerobic Digestion could be worth up to £33 million per annum to the Northern Ireland economy.