Foresight reaches financial close on construction of AD plant

By Foresight Group | April 12, 2016

Foresight Group, a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager, has announced the investment of £3.5 million ($5 million) from Foresight AD EIS Fund to construct an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant on the Mapledurham Estate, near Reading in Berkshire.

The transaction, which reached financial close on March 31, is the fourth investment made by Foresight AD EIS Fund, which raised £25 million from private investors in 2015, and is the seventh on-farm AD project in the U.K. 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” program, designed to help farmers explore the opportunity of producing sustainable power.

The EPC contractor responsible for construction and ongoing maintenance of the plant is BTS Biogas Ltd., a subsidiary of BTS Biogas Srl/GmbH, an Italian technology provider which operates more than 185 AD plants across Europe.  This is the first collaboration between Foresight and BTS which has two such plants under construction in the U.K. and is looking to expand its U.K. project pipeline.  

The plant will process around 17,500 metric tons 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.

Michael Niederbacher, CEO of BTS Biogas Srl/GmbH, said: "We are proud of the confidence of Foresight for the realization of this project.  For us it’s an important recognition of our ongoing commitment to provide the best technology and the highest biological and economic efficiency of our systems.”

“This project is very important for us because it underlines once again the consolidation of our position in the U.K. renewables market,” concluded Bjoern Blankespoor, managing director of BTS Biogas Ltd.

Jamie Williams, representing the Mapledurham Estate, said, "The Estate is very proud to have successfully formed a partnership with BTS Biogas and Foresight to deliver this plant.  The long term sustainability of dairy farming and energy production depends on collaborations of this nature.

The ever-changing landscape of government support for these ventures has created significant challenges.  However, it is very exciting that building has now started and we will soon be producing additional renewable energy on the estate.”

Beth Watkins of Foresight said, "We are delighted to announce completion of this investment in the Mapledurham AD plant from Foresight AD EIS Fund and our first project with BTS Biogas as construction and maintenance services contractor.  Foresight now looks to complete the deployment of the last of the AD EIS capital and continuing to grow and nurture its portfolio of on-farm AD investments, alongside its utility scale AD plants in and around London.”