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Northern Irish AD plant first facility to receive ADBA certification

Granville Ecopark, an enhanced anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Northern Ireland, has become the first facility to be certified under the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association’s (ADBA) new AD Certification Scheme (ADCS), launched in December.

The scheme, which is an industry-led initiative recognising good operational, environmental and health and safety performance at AD plants, was announced at ADBA’s National Conference 2017 following a successful pilot earlier in the year involving three different AD plants.

Northern Irish AD plant first facility to receive ADBA certification
The ADCS has been developed in collaboration with a range of industry stakeholders including regulators, insurers, investors, and operators and allows AD operators to gain recognition of progress towards ADBA standards through an independent audit process, demonstrating their credibility to investors and insurers.

Granville Ecopark is the largest AD facility on Ireland that only uses food waste as inputs, with the capacity to export 4.8 MWe of renewable energy onto Northern Ireland’s grid. A recent expansion at the facility means the plant is now equipped to convert excess biogas into cleaner biomethane, which is then transported across Northern Ireland to power combined heat and power (CHP) engines.

Commenting on the announcement, Charlotte Morton, ADBA Chief Executive, said: “To have the first plant certified under the ADCS just six weeks after the scheme was launched is hugely encouraging and shows the support within the AD industry for raising its performance across the board and recognising good practice in running plants. ADBA will continue to speak to AD operators about the many benefits of the ADCS both for operators themselves and for the wider industry, including increased support from politicians, regulators, insurers, and investors.”

Nick Johnn, Director at Aardvark Certification Limited, the ADCS’s official certification body, added: “We’re delighted to announce Granville Ecopark as the first AD plant to be certified under the ADCS. Aardvark was proud to be appointed as the first and currently only certification body for the scheme, which we see as vital to assuring performance and raising standards in what is such an important industry.”

All AD operators are eligible to apply for certification, save for those working in the sewage treatment sector or those working with the co-digestion of food waste and sewage sludge. It takes between six and eight weeks to achieve certification.

Application fees range from £1,200 to £5,000 depending on a plant’s annual throughput (£1,200 for plants with a throughput of up to 14,999 tonnes of digestate and £5,000 for those with a throughput of more than 50,000 tonnes and upwards), while annual renewal fees range from £600 to £2,500.

From the operator’s side, David McKee, Technical Director at Granville Ecopark, said: “We are delighted to be the first UK AD plant certified under this new scheme. It gives us the confidence that we are attaining the highest standards within the industry and will drive us forward to remain at the top. We hope that others will now follow in our footsteps and apply for certification to help boost their environmental credentials and further highlight how important the AD industry is for the future of renewable energy throughout the UK.”

This is not the first time Granville Ecopark has been the subject of renewable energy headlines, becoming the first AD plant to obtain a Prosperity Agreement with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency back in September 2017, which sees the two parties pledge to work together on innovative solutions to maximise energy production while delivering environmental initiatives in the community. The facility has also been named a Market Development leader with an award by Sustainable Ireland for its work in food waste and the circular economy. 

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