Anaerobic Digester Developer Successful In Appeal Over Midlands Project

The facility is due to open in autumn 2023.

A new anaerobic digester is set to open in Offaly next autumn.

Plans for the facility just north of Tullamore have been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála, after being previously rejected by Offaly County Council in January 2021 over concerns about air quality reports.

The original plans had also received 27 objections from local residents and public reps.

Strategic Power is now proceeding with the renewable biogas facility on 2 hectares of industrial land at Ballyduff - which will convert agricultural feedstock into BioMethane and inject it into the Gas Networks Ireland pipe network. The proposed development will not accept any municipal waste. 

Managing Director Paul Carson has been addressing concerns that 28 loads will be transported to the facility every day:

"Those numbers are actually occurring during the year anyway. So when we say there may be 28 loads, that's no different to when a farmer is drawing in silage to his farm.

"So this isn't additional traffic on the roads network in the area. It's just traffic that will go to our site instead of the neighbouring farm, for example."

The renewable energy developer says the facility will provide a nutrient rich digestate which will be used as an organic bio-fertiliser, which will be returned to the supply farms fully closing the circular economy model and reducing the requirement for imported chemical/synthetic fertilisers.

The plant will produce 40GWh of renewable gas per year which will be sold through suppliers to consumers - domestic and industrial gas users. The BioMethane can also be used a low emissions fuel for heavy goods vehicles.

Mr. Paul Carson added that they're incredibly encouraged by the outcome of this planning decision.;

"The deployment of AD plants in Ireland is urgently needed in order to meet its target for 20% renewable gas on the network by 2030.

"When operational, the development at Tullamore will have a positive and long-term impact on the local, regional and national economy. It will generate direct and indirect employment as well as bringing tremendous wider benefits to the agriculture industry.

"The site at Ballyduff was selected after careful consideration of all environmental aspects and we are delighted that An Bord Pleanála have endorsed our assessment that this is an acceptable site for an Agri AD plant. 

He says there are strong local elements to the project;

"We are aware of the concerns of local residents and are committed to operating as good neighbours. We are developing this Agri AD plant in partnership with Nicholas Molloy, a progressive young farmer based on the edge of Tullamore town. Nicholas has recently built a successful dairy unit and quickly expanded it alongside his already substantial tillage and beet operation. We are fortunate to work with Nicholas on this project - his expertise, commitment and support throughout the design and planning process has been tremendous and we look forward to building on that relationship through the long-term supply arrangement for the plant."

Between 20 and 30 operatives are expected to be employed onsite during the 12-month construction phase of the project.

Three to five staff will then be working at the plant when it's up and running. However, the company is eager to state that the facility will indirectly support the local agriculture industry.

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