Anaerobic digestion projects

Part of: Renewable energy

Area of Expertise:

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.

Within agriculture, AD can be carried out on-farm, or in larger centralised AD plants. 

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.