Independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager, Foresight Group, has announced the investment of £3.5m from its Foresight AD EIS Fund to construct an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant on the Mapledurham Estate, near Reading in Berkshire.
The 499kW plant will generate c. 3,600 MWh of renewable electricity per annum, enough to power around 880 homes while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by c. 2,000 tonnes per annum, and will utilise the heat generated by the combined heat and power engine.
The plant will also produce a nutrient rich agricultural fertiliser for use on the Estate.
The transaction, which reached financial close on 31 March 2016, is the fourth investment made by Foresight AD EIS Fund, which raised £25m from private investors in 2015, and is the seventh on-farm AD project in the UK backed by Foresight.
The dairy on the Mapledurham Estate has a contract to supply milk to Marks & Spencer, and this project was initially identified with the strategic support of Marks & Spencer’s “Plan A” programme, designed to help farmers explore the opportunity of producing sustainable power.
BTS Biogas Ltd, an Italian technology provider, which operates more than 185 AD plants across Europe, will construct and maintain the plant. This is the first collaboration between Foresight and BTS, which has two such plants under construction in the UK and is looking to expand its UK project pipeline.
The plant will process around 17,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) of feedstock, which will be supplied under contract by the Estate, comprising c. 7,500 tpa of maize silage mixed with c. 10,000 tpa of cattle slurry from the Estate’s dairy herd. The Estate will also perform the day to day maintenance for the plant, alongside the BTS maintenance services contract.
The plant is expected to be commissioned and operational by October 2016.