Northern Irish firm using poultry litter to generate electricity is a world first

Northern Irish firm using poultry litter to generate electricity is a world first

A PLANT in Northern Ireland which uses poultry litter to create renewable electricity is the first facility in the world to use the product as its sole feedstock.

Poultry litter is a mixture of poultry faeces, spilled feed, feathers, and material used as bedding in poultry operations.

The Stream BioEnergy (SBE) plant in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, uses 40,000 tonnes of it each year to generate 3MW of renewable electricity – which is enough to power approximately 6,000 homes.

So productive is the operation at their Tully Biogas facility that an extension is now underway at the site to allow it to accept significantly more poultry litter which could produce enough biomethane to displace three per cent of the natural gas imported to heat homes and businesses across Northern Ireland.

DAERA Minister Andrew Muir pictured during his visit to the Stream BioEnergy Tully Biogas plant, Ballymena with Kevin Fitzduff Co-Founder and Managing Director of Stream Bioenergy and Chief Operating Officer Morgan Burke

Northern Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir visited the site this week.

“I was delighted to tour the Stream BioEnergy Tully Biogas facility, meet the plant staff and see the positive impact their operations are having in terms of the production of renewable energy from indigenous resources to deliver Climate Action,” he said.

“They are demonstrating Green Growth in action through the creation of renewable energy, green jobs and a cleaner environment while increasing energy security and making NI agriculture more sustainable.

“It is an excellent example of my vision of economic and environmental sustainability.’

The new phase of the Tully Biogas plant is due to be operational in late 2026, but Minister Muir is hoping to replicate their success with other firms.

“My department is currently seeking to replicate this successful model using livestock slurry,” he said.

“In 2023 six local companies were each awarded funding of £100k to develop proof of concept models for the Sustainable Utilisation of Livestock Slurry to reduce surplus phosphorus within the NI agriculture system, particularly cattle and pig slurry.

“Work is now at an advanced stage of the development of the next phase of this scheme to facilitate turning the proof of concepts already developed into reality with livestock slurry being separated at scale from late 2024.”

As well as helping address the challenge of managing poultry litter in Northern Ireland in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, the world-leading Stream Bioenergy plant is diverting phosphorus away from agricultural land where surpluses are causing an adverse impact on water quality.

Stream BioEnergy Chief Operating Officer Morgan Burke said: “I welcome the opportunity to show the Minister the work that we are doing at the Tully facility and outline our ongoing expansion plans.

“I have regular engagement with DAERA officials and officials from other NICS Departments and am very supportive of the groundbreaking success the Tully plant has achieved with poultry litter being replicated for livestock slurry.”

He added: “Northern Ireland’s strong agricultural base provides an ideal platform to provide many of the raw materials to help Northern Ireland sustainably meet its climate change obligations.”