Business

Nottingham Farm AD facility receives £13.2 million of green investment

A new anaerobic digestion facility in Nottinghamshire, which will produce renewable energy from agricultural feedstock, has received £13.2 million in funding.

Half of the funding will come from the Recycling and Waste LP (RAW) Fund, specifically formed in 2015 to fund small-scale recycling and waste projects in the UK. The fund, which is managed by investment management company Foresight, was set up with £50 million from the Green Investment Bank (GIB).Nottingham Farm AD facility receives £13.2 million of green investment

The remaining £6.6 million will be provided from the Income Fund from a second investment management firm, SQN Asset Finance.

The new 2.2-megawatt (MW) facility is currently under construction at Stud Farm in Rufford and, when operational, is expected to produce around 16,300 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity every year, enough to power 4,000 households.

Agricultural feedstock, including poultry litter and straw from nearby farms, will be used to power a combined heat and power (CHP) plant as well as generating 16,000 tonnes of ‘recycled digestate’ every year, which will be used as compost on local farmland.

All feedstocks used will be from the local area and the electricity and heat generated will be used to power local businesses with surplus electricity being send to the UK grid.

The facility, which is being developed by Future Biogas Limited, will reportedly cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by around 6,900 tonnes equivalents every year, which over the facility’s lifetime will be the same as taking 3,200 cars off the road.

Construction of the AD facility is expected to finish by the final quarter of 2016.

AD projects “making a lasting difference to the communities they serve”

Edward Northam, Head of Investment Banking, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “Anaerobic digestion is widely recognised as one of the most effective ways of processing organic waste. AD facilities have an important role to play in the development of a circular economy in the UK.”

Nigel Aitchison, Partner at Foresight, added: “At Foresight we are continuing to find attractive small-scale AD projects that are making a lasting difference to the communities they serve while generating attractive returns for our investors.”

A brief history of the Green Investment Bank

The GIB was launched by the UK government in November 2012 with the stated aim of creating new green infrastructure in the UK using £3.8 billion of government funding. Although it is not strictly a bank in that it cannot it cannot borrow or lend, by the end of 2015, it had invested £2.3 billion in over 58 different projects, worth £10.1 billion.

It has come under fire from several sides for some of its investments, however, with biofuel and incineration protestors targeting its annual review in 2014. Last year, moreover, environmental consultancy Eunomia warned that GIB interventions in the UK waste sector focus too frequently on energy-from-waste residual waste treatment facilities and ‘risk hindering the country’s efforts to increase recycling and decarbonise energy’.

Although currently owned solely by the UK government, controversial proceedings were initiated in March this year to begin privatisation of the GIB, which would involve selling ‘at least a majority’ of government-owned shares in addition to seeking capital from new investors.

Many individuals and organisations have been critical of the sale, but the government has claimed that a ‘special share’ will be created for an independent stakeholder, which would have the power to veto any decision, which isn’t in keeping with the ‘green mission’ of the GIB.