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Buckie biogas energy plant to generate new jobs


By Alan Beresford

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Ready to explain Acorn Bioenergy’s plans for a biogas plant outside Buckie are (from left) Alister Veitch (Business Development Director), Kenny Shand (Mabbett and Associates Ltd Principal Planning Lead) and Sophia Thorpe (Head of Planning). Picture: Beth Taylor
Ready to explain Acorn Bioenergy’s plans for a biogas plant outside Buckie are (from left) Alister Veitch (Business Development Director), Kenny Shand (Mabbett and Associates Ltd Principal Planning Lead) and Sophia Thorpe (Head of Planning). Picture: Beth Taylor

PLANS to build a biogas energy generation plant on the outskirts of Buckie took centre stage at a drop-in consultation session in the town.

Acorn Bioenergy have unveiled proposals to construct the anaerobic digestion plant on agricultural land, to the south of Rathven and adjacent to the March Road Industrial Estate.

If granted planning permission, it is envisaged that the plant would support 15 above average pay jobs.

Plans have been unveiled to site the plant near the A98 turnoff to Rathven.
Plans have been unveiled to site the plant near the A98 turnoff to Rathven.

In order to gauge public opinion to the project and encourage feedback, the first of two drop-in sessions was held at the Fishermen’s Hall on Thursday, June 13. Members of the Acorn Bioenergy team were on hand to talk through the proposals and field questions from those attending.

The plant will generate energy by using a process called anaerobic digestion. This is a naturally-occurring biological process carried out by a mixture of microbes breaking down agricultural materials to use as an energy source in an air-tight tank.

The key microbes are methanogenic bacteria which produce biogas from the intermediate products. The anaerobic digestion facilities will then refine the biogas to extract biomethane and green CO2.

Members of the public drop in to find out more about the biogas plans. Picture: Beth Taylor
Members of the public drop in to find out more about the biogas plans. Picture: Beth Taylor

Alister Veitch, Business Development Director at Acorn Bioenergy, said the concentration of distilleries in the area and across Moray was one of the key factors in the firm identifying Buckie as a preferred site for the new plant.

He continued: “We’re looking to have a symbiotic relationship with distilleries where we take their co-products and we can return biomethane straight back to them.

“A lot of distilleries are off-grid so the idea is we can literally deliver the gas they need on a daily basis.

“Also, the famers round here are looking for a break crop to fit into their rotation so then we can take the digestate back to use as fertiliser. This will help farmers decarbonise from the fertilisers they’re using at the moment.

“Decarbonisations is also where the distilleries are coming from, too as it’s cheaper and cleaner than diesel.”

Looking at the timescales involved, Mr Veitch said that from the original application it was clear that the statutory consultees were “basically happy with it”

He added: “We’d like to think that six months after we get planning permission we’d be able to start building.

“The construction phase should run for about 14 months and would be operational from there.”

Covering 7.5 hectares in total, it is envisaged the plant would operate from 9am to 5pm during the week with reduced hours at the weekend, with the exception of harvest time.

An artist's impression of the layout of the proposed biogas plant near Rathven, Buckie.
An artist's impression of the layout of the proposed biogas plant near Rathven, Buckie.

A second session is due to be held in the Fishermen’s Hall on Thursday, June 27 running from 2pm to 6pm.

Further information on the project can be obtained from Mabbett and Associates Ltd, Willow House, Stoneyfield Business Park, Inverness, IV2 7PA, telephone (01463) 237229, email ymacdonald@mabbett.eu.

Questionnaires can be obtained by visiting www.hillofrathvengreenenergy.com

All comments should be submitted by June 21.

The plans are a revised version of similar ones submitted last year but have been slightly altered at the request of Historic Scotland due to the presence of a cairn very close to the original intended location of the plant.


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