Friday, December 21, 2007

Columbia New Biogas Energy Plant Opens

December 18, 2007

COLUMBIA — Beginning early next year, Columbia residents who set their trash at curbside will actually be contributing to the city’s renewable energy portfolio. Columbia’s Biogas Energy Plant opened Tuesday.

“It’s an exciting day for us in Columbia,” said John Glascock, director of Public Works and interim director of Water and Light. “Who knew that one day we would be able to pick up your trash and send it back to your home in the form of electricity

Glascock was one of several speakers during a dedication ceremony on Tuesday at the Columbia landfill, where the new alternative energy plant was built. He said the actual production of energy from landfill gas should begin mid-January.

The Biogas Energy Plant will turn landfill gas into energy to provide power to Columbia. Landfill waste produces 50 percent methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. City officials project that in its first year the plant will supply about 1.5 percent of Columbia’s energy use per year and provide enough power to supply nearly 1,500 homes.

As the amount of waste produced in Columbia continues to grow, so does the landfill. So in 2006, Public Works officials decided they ought to find an economic use for all the methane the landfill creates. The City Council that year contracted with the Water and Light Department to build the biogas plant. One reason the Water and Light Department was interested is a voter-approved mandate to increase the amount of energy the city gets from renewable sources.

Michael Carolan of Sexton Energy, the general contractor for the project, explained how the plant works to the 50 or so people who attended. Columbia, he noted, is the first city in Missouri to have a biogas energy plant.

“This project shows progressions for the city of Columbia,” said Carolan.

The project also got a boost from the approval of Senate Bill 54 in 2007, which allowed an expansion of the Columbia landfill plant.

City officials hope to build a bioreactor at the landfill within the next five years. Bioreactors use water to rapidly break down organic waste. They accelerate decomposition, producing more methane and, hence, more renewable energy. The biogas plant could produce as much as 2.5 percent of Columbia’s electricity needs within the next five to 10 years, according to city projections. 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

BBC's Archers Serial Publicises Anaerobic Digestion

Regular listeners to the Archers (BBC Radio 4) who also have an interest in Anaerobic Digestion have been listening with interest to an AD story which has been running for most of the past week.

There is nothing like publicity in a major national drama programme to raise national awareness of a subject, and this should be a very positive development for AD in the UK.

In the story, Adam and Debbie are proposing to build an Anaerobic Digestion Plant on their farm. Fellow Ambridge farmers, Pat and Tony, are nevertheless, against it, and on the basis of the way in which bio-energy crops grown to feed AD Plants may end up raising food prices.

Pat and Tony say you should grow food to eat, and not for fuel. I think they will find many supporters there.

The sentiment has also been expresssed that of course the grain farmers will be in favour of fuel crops in the hope that it will keep the price of grain high.

Government subsidies of up to 40% on initial AD Plant costs are being quoted, but aren't these tied to making a profit - not really a subsidy in the normal use of the word?

There is a discussion forum for the Archers serial and an active thread on the subject to which I have contributed as SteveTechie. Visit the Archers Forum here and join in.

Please also comment by posting on this Blog, or email me from the 'Contact' page and give me your permission to include your text in a blog posting/Newsletter.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Anaerobic Digestion Gets Good Press

The following newspaper article was published in the Shropshire Star on December 1, and provides encouragement to AD. It may have been a press release, but nevertheless the Shropshire Star gave this front page exposure, on a day when a biomass power plant elsewhere in the county was headlined and the plans for that plant were described as "controversial" within a generally negative article.

Biodigester in Town Proving to be a Success

Residents in Ludlow are converting about 600 tonnes of waste food into electricity and compost each year. The food is being saved from landfill thanks to a £2 million-plus biodigester.

Today residents in Ludlow, Shropshire, UK, were thanked for their help in making the town's new food waste collection service a big success.

And they were encouraged to continue using the scheme up to and over the Christmas period.

The waste food collection scheme was launched in May, with food being collected from properties in the town and taken to the biodigester for conversion int electricity and compost.

More than 5,000 properties in Ludlow town are covered by the scheme and new figures show that 75 per cent of these are currently putting their food waste out for collection - up from 66 per cent in June.

On average, just over 3kg of food waste is being collected from each participating property every week. This means that some 550 to 600 tonnes of biodegradable food waste will be diverted from landfill each year.

Today Mark Foxall, Policy and and Strategy Officer with Shropshire Waste Partner ship, said: "Up to and over Christmas we expect there to be a big increase in the amount of food waste that each household produces so we are asking people to continue to use the scheme over this important period - and ask those who don't currently use the service to consider doing so in the weeks ahead."

The food waste collection scheme is run by South Shropshire District Council in partnership with Veolia.

The Shropshire Star

Monday, December 03, 2007

Anaerobic Sewage Treatment: An Established Technology for Latin America

Anaerobic sewage treatment technology in Latin America: a selection of 20 years of experiences: A paper available at no charge

Courtesy of WEFTEC 2008

From the early introduction of Anaerobic Sewage Treatment, AST, technology to Latin America 20 years ago to now, the technology has become a viable alternative to provide affordable sanitation to the region.

The engineering community has learned to identify and manage the main risks factors of the technology, namely: odor emissions, material corrosion, scum removal and low treatment performance as compared to aerobic biological processes (70 - 75% BOD and TSS removal). AST is used as an advanced primary treatment system, with low temperature anaerobic digestion and thickening in one compact, operationally simple and energy efficient unit. The technology can be considered mature in countries like Brazil where major cities such as Curitiba, Campinas and Belo Horizonte have built large plants, up to 80 mgd in capacity, based on the combination of UASB reactors and a polishing step.

Diverse polishing steps have been researched, piloted and implemented successfully in the field. Examples of intermediate to large scale plants operating along with Stabilization Ponds (Bucaramanga, 16 mgd), Trickling Filters (Cazadores and Barao Geraldo, 7 mgd) to Activated Sludge (Pizarrao, 13 mgd), Dissolved Air Flotation (Onza, 80 mgd) and Biological Aerated Filters (Boa Vista, 5 mgd) are presented.

Most of the existing experience is with warm sewage, with temperatures of 20C or above using upflow anaerobic sludge blanket, UASB, type reactors. The technology has also been applied to colder influent sewage with temperatures as low as 15C. in smaller scales of up to 1 MGD obtaining 70% BOD removal and using anaerobic baffled reactors. Additionally, new concepts and developments such as the HRAP are being implemented and tested at full-scale in mid-size municipalities of Colombia.

The capital costs of implementation to achieve secondary level treatment are significantly lower than conventional technology. Savings of up to 50% in capital costs to achieve secondary level treatment using UASB + lagoons have been reported. Lower savings are realized for the combination of UASB and activated sludge.

However, the biggest impact is in the reduction of operational costs for aeration and sludge management. More here...

BlogMaster Comment: AD is clearly a compliment to aerobic systems which pays off for sewage treatment for the Latin Americans.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

UK Biomass Strategy and ROCs Payments

We are sure that many of our subscribers are watching the Anaerobic Digestion scene just waiting for the confidence that the UK government really is going to give increased support to AD through the ROCs scheme, before making some big decisions.

If, as seems likely, a doubling, of ROCs is soon announced, this will give the economic viability of Anaerobic Digestion a big push forward. We would like more of course, but at least this is going in the right direction.

While we await a formal announcement of the ROCs changes, which we are all hoping will be favourable to Anaerobic Digestion by doubling the current ROCs subsidy payments in the near future, has everyone taken a look a the UK government report setting out their strategy?

If you have not I suggest that it is worth reading the Biomass Strategy Report here, which "sets out our broader policy on improving the recovery of energy from waste".

Also Richard Parker and Renewables East have published a document on the DEFRA web site which is well worth looking at as it lists other UK government renewables incentives and how they may be applied to Anaerobic Digestion. I have copied part of it below, but for the full document including a chart showing the projected payment value for AD (£/MWh) energy including ROCs at double, and further information on other financial assistance available for bio-energy plants such as enhanced capital allowances you need to click here.


Since 2001, the Government has provided an incentive for business investment in energy-saving and environmentally beneficial technologies through enhanced capital allowances (ECAs).

give a 100 per cent first-year capital allowance for the purchase of qualifying plant and machinery.

The Government is also presently engaged with the European Commission over a State aid application to extend the ECA scheme to the most carbon-efficient biofuels plant.

The Government’s intention is to extend payable credits to investments of this type, although this will be subject to the same state aid application procedure. As with the SME R&D tax credit, the arrangements for payable ECAs would allow companies to surrender the element of their trading losses attributable to ECAs in return for a cash payment from Government. The unrelieved trading loss would then be reduced by the amount surrendered.

Business tax reform - July 2007