RAW has invested £8.7m in a 3 MW AD plant near Ballymena with co-investment of £4.4m from Foresight AD EIS Fund, £8.7m from Invest Northern Ireland and £1.5m from Xergi. Xergi has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts for the project.

The Ballymena project is being developed by Stream BioEnergy Limited, an experienced AD project developer in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and is expected to be one of the first plants in the world to be fuelled solely by poultry litter.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton, said: "This project has been developed as a result of support under the SUPL SBRI Project and the SUPL Loan Scheme. It is an outstanding example of public sector and private investors coming together to support a new technology for sustainable agriculture and to grow our economy.

"In addition to helping the local poultry sector to grow, the plant will create up to 100 jobs during the construction phase with a further 11 new jobs available when the plant becomes operational in 2017."

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen, said: "This project has seen close collaboration between technology companies, government and funding bodies, including the UK Green Investment Bank.

"It is a testament to our commitment to deliver a sustainable future for our agriculture sector. Projects such as this will play an important role in helping the poultry sector to address an environmental challenge."

RAW has also committed £1.8m to Gorthill AD in Eglington, Country Londonderry, with SQN Capital Management committing a further £1.8m to the 0.5 MW plant. Gorthill will use grass silage, poultry litter and cattle slurry as the feedstock.

Williams Industrial Services will act as EPC and O&M contractor on the Gorthill project. The company has acted in the same capacity in four other Foresight/GIB projects: PAR Renewables, Bridge Energy and Edenmore in Northern Ireland, and Old Quarrington in Durham.

Together the two plants are expected to generate more than 20,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year, sufficient to power approximately 5,000 households.

UK Green Investment Bank head of investment banking Edward Northam said: "We expect to see more rural communities exploring anaerobic digestion as a way of diverting organic waste from landfill while becoming more self-sufficient.

"These latest investments bring the number of on-farm AD plants supported by the GIB to six, five of which are located in Northern Ireland, demonstrating the growing demand in the sector.

"Plants of this scale save farming businesses money and can provide vital income through the sale of the electricity being generated."

Foresight Group Partner Nigel Aitcheson said: "With the financial close of these two AD projects, the £50 million RAW fund is now 46% deployed.

"At Foresight we are continuing to find attractive AD and other waste management projects both within Northern Ireland and in the UK generally which aim to make a lasting difference to the communities they serve while generating attractive returns for our investors."