British pounds

Ingenious Clean Energy invests GBP4.5m in anaerobic digestion plant

Ingenious Clean Energy has backed its first anaerobic digestion plant, located on the premises of Thomas Swan, the County Durham-based, family-run specialist chemicals business.

Ingenious Clean Energy has invested GBP4.5m in the project through its investee company, Generation X Energy Ltd.
The investment was financed by the Ingenious Energy Efficiency EIS Fund and is Ingenious’ first anaerobic digestion deal.
The cost of the installation is financed by Ingenious and will be recouped through the sale of heat and electricity to Thomas Swan under long term agreements.
The plant, managed by Generation X, will produce around 8,500MWh of electricity every year (the equivalent of powering 2,600 homes), allowing Thomas Swan to reduce its reliance on and consumption of fossil fuel derived electricity by as much as 100 per cent and heating by up to 20 per cent. This equates to slashing their industrial energy bills by up to GBP60,000 every year and providing certainty of future pricing, which was Thomas Swan’s key objective for the project.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) plants provide a safe, unobtrusive source of renewable energy that can be both used by its owners and sold back to the Grid. An AD plant breaks down farm crops, such as maize and grass silage, with anaerobic bacteria to release a biogas that is converted through an engine into heat and electricity.
The UK’s AD sector has seen a sharp uplift in investment in the last five years, although the total number of operational AD plants (excluding water industry plants) stands at just 131. In Germany however, AD is a widely adopted source of renewable energy with nearly 8,000 AD plants producing more than 22 million MWh of green power every year (enough to power seven million homes) and creating an annual turnover of EUR7bn.
Thomas Swan will purchase 60 per cent of the electricity generated from Generation X through a long term power purchase agreement. The remaining 40 per cent of the electricity will be sold to the National Grid, creating a regular return for investors of the Ingenious Energy Efficiency EIS Fund.
James Axtell, investment director within Ingenious Clean Energy, says: “As part of our commitment to exploring different and varied ways to generate returns on investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency, we are delighted to have expanded our remit to anaerobic digestion plants for the first time. Biogas generation is not seasonal or cyclical; it can be produced continually throughout the year, creating a steady return on investment for our investors. Germany is leading the way for Europe, and indeed the world, for anaerobic digestion energy generation right now and we hope that Ingenious Clean Energy will be at the forefront of a growing trend towards AD plants across the UK.”
Harry Swan, managing director at Thomas Swan, says: “This new plant will put the challenges of energy supply and costs – which have been rising rapidly- back into our own hands, and that will improve our competitiveness in global markets. We will be able to manufacture on a more sustainable basis and invest in new technologies which will help develop and expand the business.”

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