Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a proven, well-tried and tested process that uses organic matter to produce biogas (renewable energy) and digestate (biofertiliser). AD provides a source of renewable energy, a method for recycling organic matter and a means of lowering greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. There is currently major worldwide interest in AD.
AFBI anaerobic slurry digester at Hillsborough
Within agriculture, AD can be carried out on-farm, or in larger centralised AD plants. The Potential of “On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion for Northern Ireland” is available on this web site and can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
In order to provide much needed information to the industry on the performance and economics of on-farm AD in Northern Ireland, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute installed an on-farm anaerobic digester on their Hillsborough site during 2008. The main research objectives of the AFBI programme are to:
- Determine the baseline performance of on-farm digestion utilising, in the first instance, dairy cow slurry.
- Research methods for enhancing digester performance.
- Research post digestion treatments of digestate.
- Research methods for efficient use of energy produced.
- Determine the contribution of AD to plant nutrient management.
- Determine lifecycle benefits of AD.
Research objective 1 has been completed and a report is available on this website by clicking on the following link:
Research on objective 2 is currently on-going. The first interim report on progress can be read by clicking on the following link:
Research objectives 3, 4, 5 and 6 are currently progressing under DARD funded research projects.