Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA, have visited Granville EcoPark Ltd in Dungannon to see the company's latest advancements with regard to green technology.
During a tour of the site, the Ministers were shown the company's anaerobic digestion (AD) plant and heard about their plans to support the Agri-Food sector, whilst contributing to the Circular Economy; as well as their plans to meet Net Zero targets.
Minister Poots said: "It has been great to visit a company like Granville EcoPark and see the work that they are doing in turning waste products into a clean and renewable energy source."
The Minister continued: "Projects such as the EcoPark really demonstrate the opportunities that can arise through innovative approaches to existing challenges. This is a terrific example of Green Growth in action, as it is not only helping us to move from a high to a low emissions society, it is also improving people's quality of life through a cleaner environment, as well as creating green jobs for the local community.
"My Department is committed to tackling the issues surrounding climate change and to the continued protection and improvement of the environment and is leading on the development of the NI Executive's draft Green Growth Strategy. It is imperative that we all take action with regards to climate change and "green growth" and it is encouraging that so many businesses in the private sector, like Granville EcoPark, are already thinking green, doing things differently and in a less harmful way."
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: "Granville EcoPark presents a great opportunity to harness Anaerobic Digestion technology to deal with challenges within the Agri-Food sector, and at the same time help deliver the decarbonisation of heat, through injection of biomethane into the existing gas network, as envisaged in the Energy Strategy - Path to Net Zero. It is an impressive example of how this type of technology can support a Circular Economy.
''Significant work has been taken forward by the Utility Regulator and the gas industry to consider the regulatory regime for biomethane injection. In addition, my Department in co-operation with the Utility Regulator, has commissioned research into the biomethane resource in Northern Ireland and in relation to the economics of biomethane. This will help inform how the production of biomethane and future market arrangements can help deliver the decarbonisation of heat in particular, and support renewable electricity generation, and the decarbonisation of transport."
The Ministers were also shown the Granville "Smart Loop System" which uses sustainable biogas from its AD plant to transport renewable energy to client sites. The company also plans to be the first Northern Ireland AD plant to have a connection to the gas network and will soon develop a commercial Carbon Dioxide product as an additional sustainability offering for clients in the food and drink sector.
Chief Technical Officer of Granville EcoPark Ltd and BioCapital Ltd, Dr David McKee, said: "It was a privilege to show the Ministers around our facility and showcase how we have optimised our processes to get the most out of the available resources as we do our part to help decarbonise the Northern Ireland economy.
"Our renewable gas is currently transported to client facilities using state of the art gas powered lorries and Granville is on track to be the first Anaerobic Digestion facility to connect to the local natural gas network. Once grid injection is available, locally produced, renewable gases will be available to local consumers and help accelerate Northern Ireland's journey towards net zero carbon.
"Anaerobic digestion has a multitude of environmental benefits as it helps decarbonise agri-foods, waste, transport, and manufacturing with the added benefit of having saleable by-products.
"At present our Granville facility produces enough gas to supply Dungannon town, so we look forward to being able to introduce that renewable product directly into the local gas network later this year."