Irish agri-tech business BHSL has announced the appointment of Denis Brosnan as Chairman of the company. Brosnan is a former CEO of Kerry Group and one of the most respected names in the Irish agri-business sector. BHSL is also launching a process to raise at least €7M (US$7.61M) in new equity to support its global expansion.

Former ESB chief executive Padraig McManus, retired Supreme Court Judge Fidelma Macken, veteran corporate financier David Hickey, and Limerick businessman Tom Lynch have also joined BHSL’s board as non-executive directors.

BHSL has developed a unique, patent-protected system to convert poultry manure into a fuel for energy generation on-farm. The County Limerick-based company’s technology is transforming poultry production by turning a cost center (dealing with waste manure) into a source of fuel, thereby driving farm profitability through reduced energy bills.

The equity raised will be used to increase the company’s sales presence globally and extend its Research & Development spending to combust other materials such as industrial waste and spent mushroom compost. BHSL has appointed corporate finance firm, Focus Consulting, to lead the capital raise.

Commenting on the appointments, Declan O’Connor, Managing Director of BHSL, said, “I am delighted to have someone of Denis’ stature join as our Chairman. He brings decades of experience in the agri-business sector and will provide huge support as we enter a new growth phase for the business and target new export markets.

“Padraig’s deep expertise in the energy sector will be a valuable asset, as will David’s corporate finance knowledge, and Fidelma’s appreciation of the evolving legal and regulatory environment. The European Union’s 2014 authorization of the use of poultry manure as a fuel is acting as a key catalyst driving interest in our technology from large-scale poultry producers across Europe, with similar regulatory changes supporting the opportunity in the U.S. and other markets.”

Brosnan said, “I am hugely impressed by Declan and the BHSL team and believe they have a unique technology that has the potential to transform the global poultry industry. We are very confident of attracting interest from investors who will see the global scale of this market opportunity.  It is exciting to be involved in an innovative Irish agri-tech business, and I believe 2017 will be a transformational year for the business, given the sales pipeline we are seeing.”

In July, BHSL announced a $3M pilot project with the State of Maryland to trial its technology. Maryland is one of six states in the U.S. that surround Chesapeake Bay, where, after decades of intensive agriculture, many fields are overloaded with phosphorus. BHSL estimates the size of the market opportunity for the company in the U.S. at over €500M (US$543.88M).

BHSL’s system is already fully operational on two UK farms with further installations anticipated in 2016. The company is also building a very strong sales pipeline for product delivery in 2017 in other export markets such as New Zealand, Poland, Germany, Holland, Italy and Saudi Arabia.

BHSL’s research shows that a €2.5M (US$2.72M) investment in its technology by a typical broiler farm (with 380,000 birds per flock), can yield annual savings of €830,000 (US$902,832.50) per annum over heating using traditional fossil fuels, thereby ensuring payback on the investment in just over three years.