A programme to produce “green” biogas from farm waste and dairy residues for residential and industrial customers is being planned in Scotland, home to many innovative energy pilots.
The Dumfries and Galloway plant is being built by Germany’s Bioconstruct, a major European anaerobic digestion equipment supplier.
Bioconstruct, based near Osnabrück in northern Germany, is responsible for the design, build and completion of a number of anaerobic digestion plants across the globe.
Iona Capital, an investor in low-carbon infrastructure, has financed the construction and operation of the 8.8-megawatt Scottish anaerobic digestion plant.
More farmers across Europe are increasingly backing renewable energies in order to work more efficiently and exhaust the potential of their farm.
Iona said the plant had pre-qualified under the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which was introduced in 2011 to provide an incentive for the uptake of renewable heat in industry and businesses.
Biomethane is beginning to make a significant contribution in meeting renewable heating targets, Iona said.
The principal feedstock will be slurry from dairy and beef farming, underpinning the plant’s compliance with revised UK government targets on sustainability, introduced after the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The plant is projected to have the capacity to generate 8.8MW of base load renewable energy, which is sufficient to heat around 7,000 households, Iona said.
The biomethane will be upgraded into the gas distribution network.
The UK targets for renewable energy say 20 per cent of generation by 2020 should be “green” power.
Iona has financed 21 British renewable projects, all contributing power to the national grid.
Other biomethane-to-grid projects have been completed in Scotland by Iona at Keithick and St Boswells. The three plants are due to have a combined capacity over 20 MW.
Iona’s main investment focus has been within anaerobic digestion, energy-from-waste and combined heat and power (CHP) sectors.
“Creating a sustainable energy sector is a top priority for the UK and Iona’s bioenergy projects provide both attractive commercial returns to investors as well as long term social and economic benefits to communities and future generations” said Nick Ross, director of Iona Capital.
Anaerobic digestion systems are designed to process organic feedstocks in an energy-efficient manner. Biomethane is generated from the feedstocks and upgraded to the gas network. The feedstock residue is spread on farmland as a bio-fertiliser.
Bioconstruct’s project in Vettweiß. Picture credit: Bioconstruct