Last week, I had the privilege of attending the ADBA conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland. What began as a gathering of industry professionals turned into an extraordinary experience, marked by enlightening insights, shared laughter, and an unexpectedly scorching sun that etched the event into my memory.
One of my personal highlights from the conference was summoning the courage to ask a question during a session, only to find this moment of bravery had earned me the nickname ‘Biochar Lady,’ which stuck throughout the remainder of the event.
The ADBA team played a crucial role in expanding my understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the Northern Irish AD industry. From navigating policy complexities to addressing labour shortages and funding obstacles, their insights provided a holistic view of the industry landscape.
Jonathan McFerran’s presentation, focused on the ‘phosphorus challenge’ within Northern Irish agriculture, offered valuable insights. I learned how AD technology could either exacerbate or alleviate this concern and discovered the SBRI fund, a beacon of hope for innovative solutions in slurry management.
A remarkable revelation emerged during the conference: 78 out of 84 AD plants in Northern Ireland, are agricultural ventures established and operated by the farmers themselves.
David Porter, Director at Realistic Agri, delivered a captivating presentation on silage that combined informative facts with humorous anecdotes. His engaging approach left me with a newfound appreciation for this aspect of our work.
Declan McLaughlin from Bio Capital showcased the immense potential of Biomethane in Northern Ireland, underscoring the prospects for creating substantial positive impacts in the region.
One of the most exciting encounters was with Dale Guest from Stream BioEnergy Ireland. Dale’s presentation shed light on their award-winning Tully 1 AD plant, a facility running entirely on chicken manure. The enthusiasm for their future endeavors left me inspired and optimistic.
Engaging with industry professionals was an absolute delight. Conversations with the likes of James Thompson from Adapt Biogas, Kristy Blakeborough from BioCapital, William Deane from Action Renewables, John Lyndon Taylor from Birch Solutions, and the ever-knowledgeable Paul Kingston were among the many enriching interactions that made the event truly memorable.
My journey at the ADBA conference has left me profoundly inspired and eager to continue advocating for sustainable solutions in the AD industry. This event also underscored the incredible power of networking and shared passion in driving positive change within our dynamic industry.
As we eagerly anticipate more such enriching experiences on the horizon, my adventure at the ADBA conference serves as a poignant reminder that progress and innovation flourish when like-minded individuals unite to make a meaningful difference.
I look forward to meeting many more like-minded proffessionals at next weeks ADBA Conference in Scotland.