Xergi biogas plant wins the Sustainable Ireland Award
- Published: Thursday, 04 January 2018 12:01
The biogas plant in Northern Ireland, Tully Quarry, close to the town of Ballymena, is currently producing biogas from 100 per cent chicken litter. At the awards ceremony Sustainable Ireland Awards, the unique Xergi project won the award for the year's best project in the energy production category.
It was a very excited director, Kevin Fitzduff, from the company Stream BioEnergy Ltd, who received the award "Best Energy Generation Award" when the year's most sustainable projects on the Irish island were in the spotlight at the awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast.
The awards ceremony is organised by the magazine Sustainable Ireland, which focuses on sustainable solutions on the Irish island.
"It has taken eight years to put the project together, and I'm very pleased that we finally got the plant up and running. We are producing energy now, and we are very pleased that we were nominated," said Kevin Fitzduff at the awards ceremony.
Stream BioEnergy has been responsible for the project development of the biogas plant, which has been supplied by Xergi.
"It has been a long development process and we appreciate the patience and willpower that Stream BioEnergy has shown," says CEO Jørgen Ballermann from Xergi.
100 per cent chicken litter
Tully Quarry is a unique project because it has to produce biogas based on 100 per cent chicken litter. Normally, it is difficult to convert large amounts of chicken litter in biogas plants because a high nitrogen level in the chicken litter inhibits the bacteria that produce biogas.
In response to this challenge, Xergi has developed the NiX® technology, which reduces the nitrogen content in the biogas process. It increases energy production, and afterwards the nitrogen can be used as fertilizer.
"Right now, the plant is producing biogas that is used to produce electricity in a gas engine power plant. The biogas production and thus the electricity production will gradually be increased as the microbial culture develops in the coming weeks. We will then start to remove nitrogen from the biomass as we put the NiX® plant into operation," explains Jørgen Ballermann.
Xergi will manage operations
Xergi has been contracted to manage operations for the first 10 years.
"It's not enough to have a good biogas plant. It is essential that the operating staff know how to manage biogas plants. Therefore, we always supply biogas plants in combination with a well-developed training program that ensures that employees can manage efficient operations of the plant," explains Jørgen Ballermann.
Based on this, Xergi has recruited and trained a group of local employees to manage operations.
"If there are unexpected challenges, we naturally have experts who come and assist the local staff, just as we have online access to the plant from our monitoring centre in Denmark," explains Jørgen Ballermann.
At present, there are seven full-time employees at the biogas plant, and the number of employees is expected to increase as the plant is put into operation. In addition, the biogas plant has contracted with a number of companies in the local services sector.
Also read: New 24/7 Xergi biogas hotline
Facts about Tully Quarry
Biomass: 40,000 tonnes of chicken litter per year
Energy production: 3MW electricity