Irish-based agri-tech company BHSL, has signed a 20-year deal with Cargill’s European poultry business to convert poultry manure to energy.

The conversion will take place on Cargill’s Shobdon and Hangar poultry farm in Herefordshire in the UK.

BHSL will build a 1MW plant on the farm to use some 3,500t of poultry manure a year to generate heat and electricity.

The 1,000m2 Approved Energy Centre and fuel store is to contain toploaders and a Heliex electricity generation plant.

A 3km district heating network and heaters for 13 poultry houses will also be installed.

BHSL will fund complete solutions in the UK for the poultry industry, whereby the company will design, build, finance, operate and maintain Manure-to-Energy facilities on independent growers’ or poultry integrator farms, it said.

BHSL helped with the development of the new rules for on-farm combustion of poultry manure at European Commission level, in close collaboration with the UK and Irish governments, on behalf of the European poultry industry.

The resulting rules reclassified poultry manure as a valuable Animal By-Product for on-farm combustion, which meets emissions animal health and human health standards, it said.

BHSL technology is currently the only approved system under the new European regulations EU 592/2014 that became law in July 2014.

Declan O’Connor, BHSL’s CEO, said that the conversion of manure to energy presents a transformational opportunity to the poultry industry – not just in the UK but globally.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Cargill, and helping them to extend their leadership in sustainable food production.

“Cargill will be the first to leverage the proven benefits of using poultry manure on the farm to generate heat and electricity.

“This is a genuine game changer for the poultry industry, for the first time the by-product (manure) from chicken production is used as a low cost energy source to grow chicken sustainably and efficiently,” he said.