Nottinghamshire AD plant receives Green Investment Bank backing

A new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Nottinghamshire has received more than £13m funding from clean energy investors to supply 16,300MWh per year of renewable electricity and heat to local businesses.

Construction is underway for the 2.2MW Stud Farm facility in Rufford which will use agricultural feedstock from adjacent farms to fuel a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, with any surplus electricity set to be supplied to the UK grid.

Alongside anticipated carbon emissions reductions of around 6,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, the Future Biogas-operated plant will also generate 16,000 tonnes per annum of a recycled digestate bi-product, to be used as compost on local farms.

A Green Investment Bank (GIB)-supported fund – the Recycling and Waste LP (RAW) –  has invested £6.6m into the scheme, a figure which has been matched by the SQN Asset Finance Income Fund to take the total investment into the project to £13.2m.

SQN Capital Management managing director Neil Roberts explained how renewable projects have formed a meaningful part of the company’s diversified portfolio in recent years.

Roberts said: “This is our fourth joint financing with the RAW fund which fit well with our key investment criteria of financing business essential, revenue earning assets with high in place value.”

Green investment

This project marks the latest renewable energy investment from the GIB, having been initially formed by the UK Government in a bid to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy.

Commenting on the Nottinghamshire AD plant funding, UK GIB head of investment banking Edward Northam said: “Anaerobic digestion is widely recognised as one of the most effective ways of processing organic waste. AD facilities have an important role to play in the development of a circular economy in the UK.”

The GIB recently provided £7m to an energy efficiency project for a global chemical manufacturer, which could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 28,000 tonnes per annum. 

In March, the Bank announced plans to upgrade a district heating scheme in the north of Scotland, and also raised £355m in the second tranche of investment for its Offshore Wind Fund, bringing the total value to more than £818m.

AD versus ‘superbugs’

While AD plants are traditionally viewed as a source of renewable energy that can power on-site needs or be fed to the grid, the industry is starting to explore alternative uses for the technology. Earlier this week, UK malt suppliers and producers Muntons revealed that by-products formed from its AD plants could eventually be used to combat drug-resistant “superbugs” such as E. coli.

In related AD news today (18 August), Beeswax Farming has added a brand new low-emission Volvo loading shovel to its fleet of equipment in charge of loading duties at the company’s recently commissioned AD plant in Carrington, Lincolnshire.   

The new Volvo L110H, which reportedly reduces fuel consumption by as much as 18%, will load raw material into the plant’s four receivers. The resultant biogas generated will power two CHP engines, developing a total of 3MWh of electricity which is fed directly into the National Grid.

George Ogleby

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