Global animal nutrition company, Alltech, has signed an agreement with Tobermore Concrete, CEMCOR and Road Safety Contracts to become a partner in the Mid-Ulster Biorefinery and Circular Economy Cluster.

It is facilitated by the Centre for Competitiveness and supported by the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) at Queen’s University Belfast.

The cluster aims to construct a 10MW biomethane facility in Northern Ireland and play a pivotal role in the development of biorefineries throughout the region.

Alltech involvement

Alltech will utilise its fermentation expertise to help optimise biogas production and, with its biochemical methane potential (BMP) labs, will advise producers on how to generate renewable energy from agricultural animal waste.

Europe and Asia-Pacific applications manager at Alltech, Dr. Patrick Ward said: “Alltech has been focused on sustainability since its founding, guided by our ACE principle which committed all our endeavors to seek the benefit of the animal, consumer, and environment.

“This principle is more relevant today than ever, particularly with anaerobic digestion, as we take action to advance our purpose of Working Together for a Planet of Plenty.

“By utilising animal waste, we aim to drive innovation to create more renewable biomethane for the consumer and reduce the usage of fossil fuels, which is paramount for reducing our global carbon footprint and GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, thus benefiting the environment.”

Biogas production from anaerobic digestion is well established in Northern Ireland, and biomethane is set for accelerated growth across the island, according on Alltech.

“This growth is essential,” Ward continued. “According to the European Biogas Association (EBA), there is a need for 35 billion cubic metres of biomethane annually by 2030, with Europe targeting 111 billion cubic metres by 2040.

“This project will enhance energy security for the island of Ireland through renewable anaerobic digestion. Alltech, a key player in the agricultural industry, will leverage over 40 years of fermentation expertise to help realise the cluster’s goals.”

Founded in 1980 by Irish entrepreneur and scientist Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech is headquartered just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, US.

It serves customers in more than 140 countries, has five bioscience centres and operates more than 75 manufacturing facilities across the globe.

With offices in the UK and Ireland, Alltech said it will bring both smart nutrition and scientific innovation to the multiple technologies supporting the first biorefinery to be commissioned in Northern Ireland.

The Mid-Ulster Biorefinery project aims to address the volumes of agricultural resources while providing nutrients, energy and carbon services in agriculture and producing cross-sectoral decarbonisation among the businesses involved.

The four companies will combine their unique skillsets to collectively maximise the possibilities of anaerobic digestion (AD).