Northern Ireland

Viridian plans anaerobic digestion facility for north Belfast

North Foreshore, close to Belfast Harbour Image copyright Google
Image caption Viridian's proposed facility will be on the North Foreshore, close to Belfast Harbour

The energy company Viridian has submitted plans to build a large anaerobic digestion facility close to Belfast Harbour.

Anaerobic digesters use organic waste to generate methane gas, which is burned to generate electricity.

There are existing methane engines on the site, powered by gas extracted from a former landfill.

Viridian plan to use food and garden waste as the feedstock for their digesters.

The resulting gas will be will be piped to the three existing methane engines to the east of the site, across an internal access road.


The company says the facility has been designed to generate up to 4.1MW of renewable electricity a year.

That will require up to 99,999 tonnes of feedstock a year.

The development would consist of nine tanks, a biogas holder, weighbridges, waste reception areas and an office building.

It would cover a site of 9 acres on the former landfill at the North Foreshore.

What is anaerobic digestion?

  • Process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen
  • Organic material such as manure, crops, grass or slurry is put into large containers
  • Once this material breaks down it produces biogas such as methane
  • Methane can be converted and fed into the National Grid

Viridian says it represents an investment of £40m.

The plan will now be considered by the city council's planning committee.

Viridian estimate that the facility will take two years to build and a further six months to become fully operational.

They added that it would support about 200 construction jobs, with about 20 operational staff on completion.

More on this story