Construction begins on Suffolk AD plant

Ellough Ad

Construction has begun on a new 12 megawatt (MW) Biomethane-to-Grid Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant in Suffolk. 

Led by BioCore Environmental, the Ellough AD plant in Beccles, Suffolk, will process ‘locally produced energy crops’ through anaerobic digestion (the natural breakdown of organic matter into carbon dioxide, methane and water by microorganisms) to generate the equivalent of 12 megawatt hours of thermal energy (in the form of biogas) to the natural gas grid. The AD process will also produce an organic fertiliser, which will be available for use by local farmers. 

F.L.I Energy has been appointed by Biocore to construct the project and maintain the plant for the first five years after its completion. 

Speaking of the project, F.L.I. Energy’s Managing Director Declan McGrath said:  “Injecting biomethane produced through anaerobic digestion into the gas grid has an array of benefits. It is one of the most efficient uses of biogas and reduces our reliance on imported fossil gas, thus contributing to meeting the UK’s renewable energy and climate change targets whilst improving our energy security. Biomethane from AD could potentially deliver 10 per cent of the UK’s domestic gas demand.” 

It is hoped the Ellough project will save as much as 21,000 tonnes of carbon a year and produce enough electricity to supply the needs of 7,000 local homes. Indeed, according to the EA, gas-to-grid biomethane plants are ‘the most efficient use of biomethane’, but due to regulatory barriers, only a ‘handful’ are operational in the UK. A new quality protocol for biomethane from landfill gas and anaerobic digestion was published in January of this year in the hopes of ‘removing a practical batter to its use… and help pave the way for more [biomethane] schemes’. 

Peter Carey, Biocore Environmental’s Director added: “This plant will provide a number of benefits to farmers in the region whilst contributing significant renewable energy to the local and national grid thus helping to meet the UK Government’s 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.  We are pleased to be working with F.L.I. Energy to deliver this significant project.” 

The Ellough plant follows on from the royal opening of the UK’s ‘first’ commercial-scale gas-to-grid AD plant, J V Energen’s Poundbury plant in Dorset. 

Read more about the Ellough AD plant.