Innovation key to poultry sector’s future

Ministers Jonathan Bell and Michelle ONeill with an image of the plant
Ministers Jonathan Bell and Michelle ONeill with an image of the plant

Enterprise 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 Ddgestion plant being constructed by Mallusk based Williams Industrial Services.

The Ballybofey plant will be fuelled by a range of organic feedstocks, including 25,000 tonnes a year of poultry litter from local producers.

“In 2012 DETI and DARD jointly launched the Sustainable Use of Poultry Litter (SUPL) project,” said Mr Bell.

“Through a Small Business Research Initiative 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.

The £23 million scheme includes £9.3m of support from Invest NI under the SUPL loan scheme.

“The poultry sector is a significant contributor to the local economy,” said Mr Bell. “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.”

Ms 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.”