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Anaerobic Digestion in Northern Ireland

Anaerobic Digestion holds great potential in Northern Ireland. A largely untapped biomass resource exists in the province to feed AD plants.

If you have just arrived and need to bring yourself up-to-speed on this subject, we will explain that AD is the natural process that recycles organic materials including food waste, sewage sludge, agricultural waste, and if necessary, purpose-grown energy crops.

Watch our video below to gain a quick insight into the biogas scene in Northern Ireland:

Anaerobic Digestion Advantages

It produces renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and organic biofertiliser, helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to ADBA, the last 10 years has seen a rush to install Anaerobic Digesters in Northern Ireland.

There are now 34 operational plants in Northern Ireland, ranging from 180kW to 3,000kW, and 30 of these are classed as “farm-fed”.

The Recent Past and Current State of Anaerobic Digestion in Northern Ireland

A remarkable fact is that Northern Ireland, now has more anaerobic digesters per capita, than England, Wales or Scotland.

The Northern Irish AD market has grown by over 2,000% in recent years. 24 new plants have been commissioned since 2015, and the industry is now bringing in £28.5m in revenue and producing 22.8 MWe of electricity each year.

But, this is still only scratching the surface of the potential which exists for anaerobic digestion in Northern Ireland.

According to Queen’s University Belfast, AD has the potential to reduce Northern Ireland’s emissions by 2.4 million tonnes of CO2e annually, a reduction of 12%.

The province badly needs these emissions reductions, because its performance in carbon reduction is trailing behind. Northern Ireland reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by just 18% between 1990 and 2015, compared to 38% for the UK as a whole.

Source: Publically available articles on the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) blog. ADBA is the UK’s trade association for AD.


Anaerobic Digestion is a perfect renewable energy for Northern Ireland where the main industry is agriculture, the waste generated in this industry is the input for the AD plants! In volume terms, on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) in Northern Ireland has the greatest potential for cattle and pig farms.

AD Energy (NI) are building a number of Anaerobic Digesters (AD) in Northern Ireland to generate renewable energy. Northern Ireland has some of the most ambitious … via AD Energy NI – Anaerobic Digesters Northern Ireland

AD Energy NI – Anaerobic Digesters Northern Ireland

103 Anaerobic Digestion Plants Approved in Northern Ireland as AD Sector Booms (Autumn 2017)

Northern Ireland’s Anaerobic Digestion (AD) sector is set to rocket within the next half decade.

A government official who deals with the processing of applications revealed there are currently 103 AD sites either in construction or already approved in the region.

Once completed, these will be capable of processing around 1.4 million tonnes of feedstocks a year.

The figure is more than double the total currently used for anaerobic digestion in Northern Ireland, Keith Finegan from Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Natural Environment Division explained at an AD conference in Belfast.

It could make finding conacre and silage harder for farmers, but researchers say there are also environmental concerns – digestate from the plants contains high levels of nitrogen in the form of ammonia.

Anaerobic digestion has become a popular diversification for farmers as the extra income often subsidises other parts of the enterprise.

Speaking at an anaerobic digestion conference in Belfast in October 2017, industry leaders claimed AD has the potential to be worth up to £33 million a year to the Northern Irish economy. via 103 Anaerobic Digestion plants approved in Northern …

You May Wish to Visit the Related Page: Anaerobic Digestion in the Irish Republic

Anaerobic Digestion in Ireland

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