GES Group (Grants Electrical Services Ltd.) has worked with NI’s oldest creamery, Ballyrashane, to construct and commission a £3.5m ground breaking 'green energy' facility that uses organic dairy waste to generate electricity.
The creamery, based in Coleraine, commissioned an Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, that will transform
its business, provide important new income streams for local farmers, and sustain current employment levels.
Ballyrashane Chief Executive, Nigel Kemps, told guests who attended the official opening of the plant:
"This is a tremendously exciting and privately-funded initiative that will radically reduce our energy costs as well as generate sufficient electricity to run the entire Ballyrashane facility, whilst enabling our processing operation to run completely carbon free."
The new purpose-built plant sits on a four acre site at the company’s existing farm premises near the current Ballyrashane production facility. This plant utilises Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Tank Technology to produce renewable biogas from creamery wastes, energy crops, and cattle slurry from local farms, generating more than 7,000,000kWh of electricity, and additional process heat through Combined Heat & Power technology. The process will also provide odour free Bio-fertiliser as a by-product for use in local farming production.
The project was designed by the Ballyrashane Creamery Energy Team, headed by Ian Campbell (Operations Manager), with analysis and detailed design undertaken by the Carbon Trust NI. Nigel Kemps added:
"We are delighted to be the first dairy company in Northern Ireland to invest in this exciting technology. This is a proven process that has worked extremely successfully in other parts of the world. The Carbon Trust identified the project as unique to the sector, given the co-operation between the dairy and local farmers. It is a unique model and demonstrates an innovative approach to cutting costs, reliance on fossil fuels, and our carbon footprint. The Carbon Trust has assisted us with the project from the start, carrying out an initial feasibility study to prove the concept.”
At the official opening Nigel Kemps paid tribute to all of those involved in delivering the ambitious scheme.
“On behalf of the Ballyrashane Co-op Board, and members, I’d like to pay tribute to Ian Campbell and his team who have ensured this demanding project has been delivered successfully in line with what were quite ambitious timelines. He was greatly supported by Martin and Hamilton, and Grants Electrical Services, who had to work through some very difficult weather conditions during last autumn and winter but managed to deliver the project on time."