Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Essential Part of Every Biogas Plant that Nobody Tells You About

Who told you about "feedstock storage"? At this blog we lay bare the details of anaerobic digestion that nobody else talks about!

Almost all anaerobic digestion and biogas plants need to store feedstock, and doing that needs land space, and also significant spending on storage bays, tanks etc. These can be expensive... Who else talks about that?

There are some exceptions to these big storage requirements, but they are not common. Biogas plants which don't necessarily need large storage areas are anaerobic digestion facilities which are purely used for water treatment (for example a UASB Plant), and for them the "feedstock" is already in the water that flows through them. WasteWater Treatment Works sludge digesters are another example, where very little sludge is stored, but these are exceptions to the general rule.

All other anaerobic digestion facilities need feedstock storage to store seasonal feed materials, and to provide reserves of feed materials ready for use in times when the supply of feedstocks to digest, will be seasonally low, or may not be being supplied at all.

Feed materials, while being stored will also usually produce liquids which need to be contained and collected, otherwise they can be damaging to the environment. The need therefore, very often arises for biogas plants to have large engineered storage areas to hold organic feed materials. These need to be carefully designed and to comply with emissions prevention measures as well.

An example of feedstock storage is provided below, in which a UK specialist contractor in this field of expertise announces a recent project:

Whites Concrete AD service is made to measure for PH Bioenergy feedstock storage

Press Release: 1 July 2016: The installation of pre-stressed Baywall panels, designed and manufactured by Whites Concrete, has created important new feedstock storage space for PH Bioenergy in Grantham.
 The flat Baywall panels have combined to form new storage bunkers for PH Bioenergy, who utilise grass silage as well as cooked and uncooked potatoes for its AD feedstock.
“The upgrade of existing silage pits and various extensions created some unusual profiles and angles”, said Rob Chorlton from PH Bioenergy, “but the measurements from Whites Concrete have been spot on”.
(c) Whites Concrete
He added: “In fact, the whole service we’ve received from Whites Concrete has been much more than just supplying the pre-cast panels. They have been very helpful throughout, including delivery, as well as assisting us with lifting equipment and also drawings during the early design stages to assist us in gaining approval from the Environment Agency”.
Stephen Casey from Whites Concrete, said: “We understand that no two farm AD plants are the same and that for many farmers, getting an AD plant up and running with appropriate storage is no mean feat. We were very pleased to help Rob wherever we could and play our part in making the PH Bioenergy AD plant a very successful one”.
For those that are planning new AD Plants, the message is out. Take care to plan ahead for adequate feedstock storage, and the cost benefits can be large. The benefits come from avoiding long periods when a digester would be running at below its designed biogas yield, due to a lack of feedstock availability.

For more information visit Whites Concrete website here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

UK Anaerobic Digestion Industry is Obsessed with Feed-in Tarrif Cuts

This week there are many players in the UK anaerobic digestion industry who have been blogging and sending out news releases complaining about the UK government's continuing reductions in the taxpayer subsidised UK Feed-in Tarrif (FiT). This is an additional payment which approved AD Plant operators are guaranteed to be paid, in addition to the normal payment per kWh, for their renewable biogas energy generated electricity.

It really is not news that the biogas plant capacity which will be granted at a preferential FiT, is being progressively reduced. So, the only aspect of that might be seen as "news" is the way in which the FiT is being reduced, through technical aspects of the way it is being handed out.

FiT allocations are being dribbled out in batches every 3 months by the government department responsible (DECC), and each time they open the doors for new project submissions, the budgeted FiT allowances are being taken up in a matter of minutes.

Is it any wonder that a government desperate to save on public spending, will seize on that indication, to assume that the industry is healthy? With so many backers of the anaerobic digestion process clamouring to develop projects and apply for FiT payments, the Politicians must be assuming that the UK AD industry can hardly fail?

UK Anaerobic Digestion Plant Promoters Should Stop Complaining!

The view from this blogger is that there are many other ways to sell the biogas energy produced by biogas plants. Producing electricity is only one way to monetize biogas energy!

It is accepted that other methods may often, but not always, require additional investment in cleaning up the raw biogas, before these alternative markets can be supplied, but these new products can command higher payment. They also waste less of the energy, and can therefore be more environmentally sustainable.

The best alternative for many is biogas upgrading which can be done to a variety of quality specifications, with the most stringent being for injection into the natural gas supply grid.

Upgrading technology to do this has improved hugely in the last few years, and the market for renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) is one that is insatiable. At least cannot be over-supplied within current forecasts for biogas feed-stock availability, so why complain? simply accept reality, and like most of the rest of the world, get on and live with it!

The following is a round up of a sample of the complaining articles I refer to. Come on AD'ers. Stop moaning and live with it!

New Feed-in-Tariffs Hampering Anaerobic Digestion Development in UK

Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s chief executive, commented:

“The FIT deployment cap of 20MW per year for AD is already constraining much needed baseload capacity, failing to recognise our industry’s ambition. Not rolling over unused capacity from one tariff period to the next is salt in the wound and a shocking waste of MWs worth of renewable electricity which DECC has already accounted for.

Via New Feed-in-Tariffs Hampering Anaerobic Digestion Development in UK

"UK Feed-In Tariff cuts for new anaerobic digestion plants could be worse than thought", via UK Feed-In Tariff cuts for new anaerobic digestion plants could be worse than thought

10% FIT Capacity For Anaerobic Digestion “Wasted”CIWM Journal Online

The new FIT scheme has quarterly “caps” on maximum deployment for each technology, which are set at 5MW for AD. An application for a plant that breaches the cap is counted towards the next quarter – but any capacity unused is simply lost.

This is despite the government’s consultation response saying that “any unused capacity for a particular technology and degression band from one quarter simply gets added on to the next quarter.” Via 10% FIT Capacity For Anaerobic Digestion “Wasted”

The industry needs to stand-back from all this, and realise that it the UK Referendum on 23 June, results in the UK leaving the EU, the power of Prime Minister Cameron will be greatly diminished and in that case the Department of Environment and Climate Change will probably be very quickly closed down.

The UK Treasury clearly would like to close DECC, and Cameron is surrounded by politicians who are openly antagonistic to subsidising energy (with some holding no sympathy at all with those that seek to limit climate change), so what chance would this department then hold of even being around to hand out any FiTs at all?

It would be much better for the UK AD Industry to accept reality and concentrate on produce other alternative biogas energy products and market their renewable energy into those markets. Electricity production is after all, a wasteful use of this valuable energy, and with transmission losses etc., only about 30% to 50% will ever reach the consumer.

Baseline electricity supply 24/7 is important, but can be supplied by a myriad of small peak load shedding diesel generators located at the premises of the main power users. The UK government is subsidising those installations. It will potentially be able to extend those programmes much more cheaply than adding nuclear power stations.

So, stop whingeing UK anaerobic digestion project promoters! Get on with taking the next leap into CNG / biomethane production now!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Round Up of Biomethane Projects in North America

The number North American biomethane projects in 2016, is growing! In this posting we take look at the development of biomethane upgrading plants which purify the methane output from anaerobic digestion plants, making it a high value, quality controlled, fuel, potential to provide an enormous greenhouse gas emissions reduction

A "plain vanilla flavor" biogas plant, becomes a "biomethane" plant as soon as the upgrading equipment is commissioned.

Europe has been upgrading biogas plants and building new ones, which will "upgrade" their biogas from the start, quite rapidly. In fact, a transition is beginning to take place from the on-site use of biogas energy in gas-engines for supply electricity into the local grid, to the upgrading of biogas for off-site uses, including as a transport fuel for the road haulage industry and also for general gas grid supply.

One reason for that is the reduction in favorable Feed-in-Tariffs, which have offered government subsidies in some nations, but it also raises the efficiency of the use of the methane gas energy, and in turn therefore also raises the sustainability of anaerobic digestion energy (biogas) systems.

Until recently there was less interest in this technology, in the US and Canada than in Europe. However, since the start of this year (2016), the outlook (as highlighted in the following articles). looks more promising.

Our first article below is about developments in the biomethane produced by Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which by their estimation could yield a whopping 90% reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline.

Our second article is about the fact that construction has begun on a Canadian (British Columbia) biomethane project which will provide renewable natural gas to fuel the city’s waste-collection trucks. An added benefit here will be that the emissions from natural gas fueled refuse collection vehicles is much lower than that of diesel fueled vehicles. These trucks that spend all their working lives in congested streets and urban highways will now make the air healthier for residents as well.

Our third article and final article below is included to show that the market is ready to buy the low carbon emission fuel from biomethane plants, in Canada. In fact, there is strong pressure from energy utility companies to offer sustainable green energy to their customers.
That means that investors who are thinking of dipping their toes into a new "green energy market" could do well to look at biogas plant and especially biomethane upgrade investments.

Clean Energy to be First Commercial Distributor of Biomethane Fuel in California

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced it will be the first company to commercially distribute its signature biomethane fuel “Redeem” across 35 stations in California.

“It’s a landmark day for Clean Energy as the first company to make this revolutionary and renewable transportation fuel made from waste available to our customers,” 

said Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. He added the company’s goal is to produce and distribute 15 million gallons of its Redeem fuel in its first year, assist California meet its climate change goals and prove the fuel is a viable alternative fuel source.

Clean Energy hopes to keep its California retail infrastructure flowing with Redeem as the state’s fuel infrastructure grows, said Harrison Clay, president of Clean Energy’s renewable fuels division. He added Clean Energy will focus on California’s initial market, which is economically beneficial to the biofuel, before rolling out its signature biogas into other states.  

“I don’t know if we have a state that’s the next big target,” said Clay. “We’ll go where the demand for natural gas fuel is the highest. I know we opened our LNG truck stop stations in Texas, so that might be a good market for us.”

The biomethane is produced from extracting methane gas from Clean Energy’s landfills and other waste streams, cleaned and processed by a production facility and deposited into the interstate natural gas pipeline. It is available as compressed or liquefied natural gas forms.

California Air Resource Board estimated the biomethane could yield a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline. “Clean Energy’s new Redeem product will help cut greenhouse gas emissions on our roads while providing customers a lower-priced fuel when compared to gasoline or diesel,” said Mary Nichols, board chairman of California Air Resource Board.

Clay said the future of biogas usage is very promising:

“We’re offering a one-of-a-kind, lowest cost and best breed of alternative fuel. We can offer fuel to our customers that can meet 100 percent of the fuel requirements of an 18-wheeler without a sacrifice in performance that can be offered and sold to them cheaper than petroleum fuel products,” 

he said.  via Clean Energy first commercial distributor of biomethane fuel

Construction Underway on British Columbia Biomethane Project

Earlier this year, Orgaworld Surrey Ltd. began construction on a biofuels processing facility to convert kitchen and yard waste from the city of Surrey, British Columbia, into renewable natural gas to fuel the city’s waste-collection trucks.

“They have done site preparation and they are now working on the foundations and will start pouring the floors of the facility,” said Paul Oostelbos, director of international business development.

The biofuel facility is being developed as a public-private partnership (P3). Orgaworld Canada Ltd., an organic waste processing business part of Shanks Group plc, contracted with the city of Surrey to develop the project. Now, its subsidiary Orgaworld Surrey Ltd. will head up the project, undertaking the design, build, finance, maintenance and operation of the facility. Multiple partners are involved with the development of the project including Stantec Architecture Ltd. to work on the design-build and services contract and the local construction company Smith Bros. & Wilson Ltd. to prepare the site, procure the equipment and materials, construct infrastructure and building components and install the equipment desired.

This project is considered one of P3 Canada’s flagship projects. The Canadian government approved Surrey’s application to the P3 Canada Fund, awarding the project a contribution up to 25 percent, or a maximum of $16.9 million, of the capital cost of the future biofuel facility. In total, the project is expected to cost 65 million in Canadian dollars ($45.9 million).

The facility is being constructed on city-owned property located in Port Kells adjacent to the Surrey transfer station in a grass building area about 14,323 square meters. The city collects waste from approximately 100,000 households, and based on recent studies, approximately 65 percent of its residential garbage is composed of organic waste that could be diverted to the Surrey biofuels processing facility. The facility will have the capacity of processing upward of 115,000 metric tons of organic waste per year. A majority of the feedstock—80,000 metric tons per year—will come from Surrey’s residential curbside collection program, and some commercial organic waste will also be processed, supporting the Metro Vancouver Food Scraps Recycling Program.

The plant is being implemented as the second phase of the Surrey’s Rethink Waste Program. “The city of Surrey wanted to close the loop,” Oostelbos said.

“They want to convert their source-separated organics into biogas that would be used to fuel their waste collection trucks and their city fleet.”

According to Oostelbos, the city has a local objective to divert more than 70 percent of waste from the landfill through alternative reuse, increased recycling and material recovery programs.

 “By closing the approach we will convert their source-separated organics—the kitchen waste, garden waste—into mainly two products,” 

Oostelbos said.

“One is the biogas, which will be upgraded into natural gas quality. The second product is compost, which can be used as an organic fertilizer for agricultural reasons and various applications within the city.”

More than 20 waste trucks will be fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) at peak site capacity. Upon arrival in the CNG-fueled trucks at the west entrance of the building, the waste is then stored, shredded, processed to produce gas, composted, screened and shipped out from the north exit. Shredding equipment will be located in the facility’s entry, with loaders transporting the waste within the facility, the storage bays, reactors, composting tunnels and the compost storage bays. Within the screening halls, equipment will sort the compost and move it via overhead conveyors into the composting storage areas. The facility will produce approximately 35,000 metric tons of compost per year.

The anaerobic digester (AD) technology being implemented is Orgaworld’s Biocel, dry AD equipment, already implemented by the company in the Netherlands. Oostelbos said the process requires very little pretreatment.

The gas-upgrading equipment provider for the project is still under negotiation.

“What we see in North America is that more and more cities are changing to CNG-fueled trucks, and that they also have to look at the amount of food and kitchen waste going to the landfill,” 

Oostelbos said.

“I think there is a great opportunity for these types of projects in North America.”

Besides the biofuel processing area, the facility will have an administrative area to provide visitor facilities for public education on biofuel production. The third level of the administrative area will include a conference room, visitor gallery and a roof garden for educational purposes.

The projects anticipated service commencement is in early 2017. “It’s the first and largest of its kind,” Oostelbos said.

“The combination of dry AD with composting allows us to produce quality products. We also have 2 or 3 percent of material like plastics that we will convert into alternative fuel for the local cement industry. We tried to avoid as much landfilling as possible.”

The project has also been nominated for a number of awards including the National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnership in the category of project financing of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. It has also been shortlisted for the 2015 P3 Awards for the category Best Waste/Energy/Water Project, [for] which they will receive notification about Oct 8. via Construction underway on British Columbia biomethane project

British Columbia Utility Fortis Seeks Additional Biomethane for Energy

British Columbia utility FortisBC is seeking additional biomethane suppliers for its renewable natural gas program.

The subsidiary of St. John’s, Newfoundland-based Fortis Inc. said in a news release it is seeking an additional supply of up to one petajoule, or enough natural gas to provide heat and hot water for about 10,000 homes annually.

The company is seeking submissions from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, farms and agricultural businesses, and other biogas producers.

"Demand from our renewable natural gas customers has resulted in the need for further biogas supply in our system," 

said Doug Stout, vice president of energy solutions and external relations.

"Our focus is to help put waste to good use by working with suppliers to develop this energy source for our customers."

Two projects currently supply biomethane to FortisBC, with five others under development or construction. via British Columbia Utility Fortis Seeks Additional Biomethane for Energy

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Quadruple Growth Predicted in Biomethane and BtG In the UK and Europewide

The idea that the number of biomethane plants could quadruple by 2021 sounds remarkably optimistic, but it is a figure supported by the top industry experts. 

It is a prediction which will be very welcome news for all those that have for so long worked in the industry and striven to convey to anyone who would listen, the many advantages of the anaerobic digestion process.

Biomethane is the term used for the raw (anaerobic digestion plant) biogas which is purified into "biomethane" before being sold, and the use of that "green gas" for injection into the gas supply grid is one of the very most efficient uses of that energy. 

Until recently, the most common use of biogas was to use it after only a minimum purification (to avoid corrosion of the generator equipment) to create electricity. However, producing electrical power invokes a large loss of that energy in the electrical distribution system, and a much higher loss than in the natural gas grid (although energy is of course expended in the purification (upgrading) process). 

It is also wonderful news for the environment, and will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions if this number of plants is built. Additionally, other biogas plants will continue to be built for electricity production, and will continue to expand the overall renewable energy output in electricity.

This is, not forgetting that, biomethane is also very useful as a transport vehicle fuel (Bio-CNG), as explained in our final article excerpt.

So, now! If you want to check the validity of what I am saying here, read on!

ADBA (UK) concludes that the number of biomethane plants could quadruple by 2021

Dec 16, 2015: According to the latest data, Europe counts with 17,240 biogas and 367 biomethane plants. For the past six months, the EBA team has joined efforts to compile its Biomethane and Biogas Report 2015, the annual statistical report on the European anaerobic digestion industry and markets. via

EBA Biogas Report will be shortly available!

According to the latest data, Europe counts with 17,240 biogas and 367 biomethane plants. For the past six months, the EBA team has joined efforts to compile its Biomethane and Biogas Report 2015, the annual statistical report on the European anaerobic digestion industry and markets.
via Green Gas Industry Could “Quadruple” With New RHI Budget

...The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) forecasts that the Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review could support the construction of an additional 140 biomethane plants. The announced £1.15 billion allocation for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget by 2021 could quadruple the number of UK biomethane plants. These plants represent a fourfold increase on current numbers […]
The post UK: ADBA concludes that the number of biomethane plants could quadruple by 2021 appeared first on European Biogas Association.

via UK: ADBA report concludes that the number of biomethane plants could quadruple by 2021

The UK has seen a further 23 biomethane to grid (“BtG”) connections in 2015. This makes a total of 50 BtG sites and means that, for the second year running, the UK has been the fastest growing biomethane market in the world.

Judging from the above, we do seem to have been correct when last year we reported in this blog How the Big Picture for Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Gets Yet Bigger!

UK sees highest level of Biomethane to Grid (BtG) growth in the world

BtG is the process whereby renewable gas is injected into the UK’s gas grid, giving the UK a highly flexible and efficient source of green, sustainable energy made from organic material include food waste.
John Baldwin, CNG Services founder and managing director said:
“The growth experienced in 2014 has continued with a total of 47 new projects in the last two years, the highest level of growth of any gas market in the world”
“Biomethane is a highly flexible renewable fuel as it utilises the extensive and valuable UK gas grid to provide energy both for gas central heating and also to fuel supermarket distribution trucks” ...
Baldwin continues:
“Growth of BtG has been spectacular. ... Growth accelerated markedly in 2014 with CNG Services connecting over 20 plants across the UK working with customers including Wyke Farms, Severn Trent, Wessex Water, Refood and Future Biogas.
Baldwin comments:
“When you look at how fast this industry sector is developing, it’s clear that BtG is going to be the biggest renewable heat technology in the UK. I’m proud of the part we’ve had to play in this success story”.
Biomethane has had the support of the [UK government subsidy known as the] Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) worth £860 million. ...
Biomethane is also increasingly being used as a fuel for transport, known as Bio-CNG, where is offers big environmental benefits.
For the full article, visit :

We would be delighted to see your comments below. Do you agree that this predicted rate of growth in AD plants for biomethane production is realistic, for example? Are you worried that energy crops will raise the cost of food, by doing this? Is this the right way forward for renewable energy production, or are there better ways of using organic waste materials? Please give us your opinions here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

UK AD Plant Installation Contractors Rush To Complete Biogas Installations Ahead Of FiT Reductions

A new set of UK Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) reductions known as "degressions" will come into force from 31 March 2016. This has led to companies rushing to complete existing projects and starting new ones early, to ensure that their anaerobic digestion (AD) projects get the last of the high subsidy rates.

Rates will only drop 5% to 11% at the start of April, but there is widespread concern that the mechanism known as degression, which it is hoped will soften the run-down of this subsidy, will deter the commencement of a large number of projects due to start later this year, and result in a high level of UK AD Plant Installation Contractor bankruptcies.

The idea of degression is that as the target spending level approaches, the FiT will be reduced more rapidly. This should minimize government overspending if the uptake of the FiT is rapid, but the uncertainty it introduces into predictions of anaerobic digestion plant project profitability could simply stifle demand for new biogas plants. If that happened it would set-back the UK's biogas industry for years, and cause widespread job losses.

How The UK Got UK AD Plant Installation Contractors Into This Situation

This has been explained by CooperOstlund's Johan Ostlund in the January 2016 edition of Wet News, as follows:

"Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) were introduced by the government in 2010 to help increase the level of renewable energy generated in the UK. The subsidy outlined that renewable generation systems, up to a capacity of five megawatts (MW), were eligible for financial support for producing green energy.
Alongside helping the UK towards its legally binding EU target of 15% of total energy from renewables by 2020, the incentives aimed to drive long-term investment in renewable technology and innovation.
Since its introduction, the scheme has been hugely successful. In 2014 alone, the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry installed 89 new plants in the UK, a high percentage on site at water companies, food manufacturers or recycling businesses to turn organic waste, wastewater or sewage into renewable energy.

Energy targets

In fact, such has been the success of the financial support for AD installations that the industry now exceeds 500MW of total capacity across 411 plants nationally, making a significant contribution to the UK's renewable energy targets.
FITs have transformed the way the UK generates its power over the past three years, with more than 22% coming from renewables in the early part of 2015.
However, this has come at a price and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) admits spending on clean energy support is projected to be as much as £1.5bn over budget by 2020/2021.
In a bid to keep the budget under tighter control, the government introduced the FITs degression mechanism, which automatically reduces the level of subsidy available to new projects once a certain level of deployment is reached. Now, as part of the latest review, DECC wants to cut expenditure on the FITs scheme to between £75M and £100M, from January 2016 to 2018/19 and has significantly reduced the rates it will pay.
As part of these latest FITs degressions, financial support for AD sites will decrease significantly from the end of March 2016. In fact, the tariff for facilities under 500KW will reduce from 10.54 to 936p/Kwh, while facilities greater than 500KW will drop from 9.16 to 8.68p/Kwh." via WWT Online-WetNews


It would be foolish of any government to continue to damage the UK'S renewable energy industry/UK AD Plant Installation Contractors in the way it has the solar panel and home insulation industries over the last 6 months, since the current Conservative Government got into power in May 2015.

For a party which is says it is both keen to introduce measures which will reduce climate change, and provide employment/support businesses, while improving the UK's housing stock, it is hard to fathom why they would jeopardize the biogas industry in this way, with all its beneficial spin-off's.

Please give us your comments below (Click on "comments" to add your own.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

5 Awesome Advantages of Using Biogas as a Cooking Fuel

The biogas from a home biogas plant need only be compressed by placing a weight on the biogas collection and storage sack or dome over the digester tank, and possibly filtered through water, before it can be piped direct into a cooking stove,

This is truly cheap and simple to do, and the initial "fuel" or feedstock that the biogas digester is made from is simply the waste organic material produced by the family or community which runs the digester.

In rural communities in the developing nations the following list of advantages normally will apply:

1. Biogas production needs less labour than tree felling, especially when the trees are far away from the home and need to be transported.

2. Trees can be retained. Using biogas avoids the need for constantly removing trees for firewood allowing forests and woods to recover and grow, bringing shade, shelter, and forest products, plus maybe food as well.

3. Biogas is a quick, easily controlled fuel. Turn it on at a tap, light it and the heat is there to use immediately. In contrast using wood takes time to get the fire warm enough, and the fire needs attending for that period as well.

4. Biogas emits no smoke, when burnt correctly. It has no smell when pure (unless there is a leak and then you need to know of the leak, in any event). This means massively reduced eye and respiratory irritation, and extends the lives of all who use smoky wood stoves.

5. Clean pots! Yes. Pots and dishes, in fact everything remains much cleaner when using biogas as a cooking fuel instead of wood.

In reality, these are just a few of the examples where using biogas for cooking instead of wood, or even fossil fuel alternatives such as LPG in cyclinders, (which is so expensive in the developing nations), has so many advantages.

So, why aren't more people doing it? Let us read your opinions please, in the comments box below.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Anaerobic Digestion Creates Heat but is UK Industry Overheating?

The anaerobic digestion process creates heat, and this is especially useful when it is used on the site of the digestion plant or is piped of-site to heat homes, and be used in industries near to the AD Plant. But, in another, largely political sense has it been overheating? Has there been such a large increase in the number of AD facilities in the UK that the government has decided that like the wind power and solar industries, whatever their industry experts say the industry no longer needs government subsidies to continue to grow?

In this article we will provide information on both the "heat" and the "overheating" of the UK biogas industry. First we will look at a case study where heat exchangers have been used, as part of a renewable heat system:

HRS heat exchangers creates anaerobic digestion plant for Muntons

heat exchanger in anaerobic digestion

The food sector has invested heavily in bioenergy projects such as biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion but where heat which is generated or used in one part of a process is lost rather than reused, according to HRS.

Image by cizauskas via Flickr
One of the most common situations where heat is wasted is where businesses have installed an AD plant to manage their food waste and factory by-products, said Matt Hale, international sales manager, HRS Heat Exchangers.

Heineken, Weetabix, Maltesers & Ovaltine

In most cases the primary energy output is electricity supported by Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) which is used on site or exported to the grid,” he added.
The electricity is generated by a gas engine combined heat and power plant, but what happens to the heat? In some cases it is used for processing or heating the food factory, but often not to its full potential.
Implementing HRS heat exchanger technology, to use waste heat from one process to fuel another, could save food factories 7.5 pence per kWh² used.”
One such company is Muntons malted ingredients based in Suffolk, UK which supplies malt to Heineken beer, Weetabix, Maltesers and Ovaltine.
The firm uses 250,000 tonnes of barley to manufacture 180,000 tonnes of malt pa, which it sells the brewing and distilling industry and makes a range of malted ingredients used in food, confectionery and baking.
The company is currently putting the finishing touches to its £5.4m on-site anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. Integral to the success of the 499 kW facility is a 3 Tank Batch Sludge Pasteuriser System with Energy Recovery from HRS Heat Exchangers, which will help turn 80,000 tonnes of Muntons’ liquid malt waste into biogas and organic fertiliser.
This biofertiliser will be then be applied to local farmland, helping the company’s network of growers to produce the barley needed to make Muntons’ malt.
“For Muntons, this whole project has been about maximising efficiency. Although they have an abundance of heat, they still wanted to recapture what they could and our heat exchangers will provide at least 40% heat regeneration,” said Hale.

AD is a fast-growing industry in the UK 

He added AD is a fast-growing industry in the UK and has seen a steep rise in operational plants: from 192 in 2009 to 335 in January 2015. AD could deliver 10% of Britain’s domestic gas demands and reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2%+ if industry reaches its potential: 40TWh of energy.Via HRS heat exchangers creates anaerobic digestion plant for Muntons

Gaunts Estate Anaerobic Digestion District Heating

Gaunts Estate near Wimborne, Dorset is the site of three new district heating schemes, powered by three separate anaerobic digestion plants.

Throughout the schemes, 1600m of REHAU’s flexible, pre-insulated RAUVITHERM pipework is being installed to connect the AD plants to the various farms, dwellings and countryside buildings on the estate.

The huge jump upward in the quantity of United Kingdom gas which was supplied by biogas from anaerobic digestion (AD) and landfill gas last year, has been lept upon by the UK government as evidence that there is a similar overheating of the biogas industry in the UK to that seen in solar power farms, and wind turbines, and seems to have given them an excuse to reduce subsidies. 

The degree to which the industry has been "heating up" (in other words over-achieving government targets) making Conservative politicians confident that they can save UK taxpayers money, and still achieve EU climate change targets, is shown in the paragraphs below.

Parliamentary report shows green gas heating up

In 2014, the UK produced 37 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas and biogas combined; 2.6bcm of which was generated from AD and landfill. Since then the biomethane industry has quadrupled in scale, with 40 gas-to-grid plants now generating enough indigenous gas to heat over 100,000 homes or fuel around ten per cent of the UK’s bus fleet. POST estimate that UK natural gas production will fall from 2016, with biogas becoming an increasingly important part of our gas supplies. 
The POST report’s release comes a week before the Spending Review, which will set out the government’s plans for future support for biomethane, and follows a recently leaked letter from the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, to her Cabinet colleagues that appears to signal recognition for biomethane’s role in a sustainable UK energy mix.  
 ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:

The fact that green gas represented 7% of the UK’s indigenous gas supply in 2014 represents a colossal milestone for the biogas industry. And the timing could not be better as the Chancellor considers the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is crucial to facilitate further growth in biomethane, in his Spending Review announcement next week.
With continued support for additional biomethane capacity, anaerobic digestion could potentially meet 30% of UK domestic gas demand.
The UK needs 20TWh more renewable heat by 2020 to meet the government’s 12% target – biomethane could deliver a third of that. via Parliamentary report shows green gas heating up | News | ADBA | Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association
Has the UK government cut the biogas subsidies so hard that they kill off the young UK anaerobic digestion plant industry, and ruin the UK's, so far, good record of compliance with climate change targets? They seem not to care about removing the heat, but will the industry go too far off-the-boil?

We will report on the effects of recent UK government announcements on biogas plant subsidy reductions again in a further posting to this blog soon.