Thursday, December 18, 2008

Four Killed by Biogas in Digester Tank in Philippines

While the biogas from Anaerobic Digestion does mercifully disperse rapidly, terrible accidents can and do happen around the world, as the following post from the Philippines shows:

Biogas tank that killed four in Batangas had no permit


The sanitary inspector of Malvar town in Batangas province has confirmed that FS Lajara Farm in Bagong Pook town has no permit to operate the biogas tank that killed 4 workers Tuesday morning.

Inspector Aldrin Leviste said that the company, owned by former Calamba Mayor Severino Lajara, would be asked to put their biogas operations on hold. They may also be fined for operating such facility without securing the necessary permit.

Leviste said that all biogas operators are required to employ a pollution control officer to guide and monitor the workers. He said it is also essential to impose the use of necessary safety garments such as protective masks and supportive gadgets.

FS Lajara Farm was allegedly not complying with any of the guidelines provided.

Based on the post mortem report suffocation was identified as the cause of death. Health Officer Dr. Luisa Jaurigue said it is also possible the victims were able to ingest pig manure which also caused poisoning.

It was the last day of a two-week contract for workers William Flores, Jovert Catalan, John John Villa and Richard Manahan when they all lost consciousness upon entering the biogas tank that led to their demise. More at CBN News here.

In the EU the ATEX Directive applies safety rules for all explosion risk and dangerous substances sites like biogas digesters/ See ATEX and DSEAR for the UK requirements.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Important UK Defra Meeting with Anaerobic Digestion Interests Announced

Defra to hold second meeting on AD


The minister for waste, Jane Kennedy, is set to meet with the organics recycling industry next week to discuss the best way forward for anaerobic digestion and look at developing a "vision" and strategy to help implement the technology in the UK.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) operators, trade bodies and Defra are to convene on December 18 to talk about the best way to proceed with implementing AD on a wider scale to treat municipal food waste and also encourage more farmers to use the technology.

Jane Kennedy is expected to meet with key figures in the organics recycling industry next week

Jane Kennedy is expected to meet with key figures in the organics recycling industry next week.

Michael Chesshire, a director of the Shropshire-based GreenfinchBiogen, which runs the UK's largest AD plant built to treat food waste, told that attendees would be discussing a proposed "vision and implementation strategy for AD".

The aim of the strategy is to increase the use of AD to treat municipal household waste and also to encourage smaller scale operations to be set up in the agricultural sector. The "vision" is set to be implemented between now and 2020, he explained.

The December 18 discussion will be the second high-level ministerial meeting to be held on AD this year. The first set of talks was held in July.

A spokesman for the Environmental Services Association (ESA), who attended the first meeting, said that the latest summit was being held to "update" the sector about the Government position on AD and to discuss the technology's role in energy generation.

He explained that the July event had addressed the opportunities and challenges in developing an infrastructure for AD in the UK. He said: "While the future for AD appears to be bright, a number of policy uncertainties are seen to be holding back the early adoption of AD around the country."

Currently organic recyclers are waiting to find out how digestate produced by AD will be classified, which affects how it can be used. The Quality Protocol and publicly available specification (PAS110) for digestate, which could reclassify the digestate from 'waste' to 'product', are yet to be released and are not expected to be ready until the New Year.

The ESA spokesman commented: "The willingness of key partners to accept the practice of returning digestate to agricultural land would be essential to the success of AD as a technology."

Mr Chesshire praised WRAP and Defra for their work on the Protocol and PAS110 standard and said he "appreciated what they are doing".

He said both would help AD to progress and added: "It will be a big boost to the industry and will hopefully bring supermarkets into the market and encourage them to buy products from farmers who are using digestate."

Mr Chesshire said he also hoped to discuss a way of incentivising farmers to begin operating AD facilities to treat farm-waste, such as animal slurry.

"Farmers need to be influenced to use the technology" he said, explaining that farmers did not have to worry about paying Landfill Tax in the same way local authorities do and therefore do not have the same impetus to look at different ways to treat their waste.

Feed-in tariffs

The July meeting also found that there was uncertainty among operators about the nature and effect of the feed-in tariffs proposed within the Climate Change Act.

Feed-in tariffs are contracts which smaller energy producers, like AD facilities, can make with energy providers in place of the more complex Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) system, which is intended for use by larger organisations.

The Government only wants small energy producers (5MW or less), to be eligible to use feed-in tariffs and is in the process of setting an energy production cap system. Mr Chesshire said he expected AD operators who produce between 50KW and 5MW of power to be eligible for the simpler feed-in tariffs.

He welcomed the new contract arrangements and said they would be much simpler to use for smaller producers and would be a "boost to the sector".

Mr Chesshire pointed out that Defra has been very supportive of the AD sector so far and said they had done a lot of good work to help the technology progress. He said: "I hope the December meeting helps to move the industry even further along than it is now."


Currently there are few anaerobic digesters built to treat municipal food waste in the UK, although the technology has been used more widely on a small-scale in agriculture to treat wastes like animal slurry.

However, the Government is keen to increase the amount of municipal food waste digesters in the UK and has repeatedly signalled its support for the technology because of its potential to create energy in a sustainable manner.

Defra outlined its support for the technology in the Waste Strategy for England 2007 and said "it has significant environmental benefits over other options to treat food waste". It also stated that the Government wishes to encourage "more consideration of the use of AD both by local authorities and businesses. It has also awarded "double ROCs" to AD facilities.

See full LetsRecycle article.

Anaerobic Digestion Biogas and EU REACH Implemetation

Last week immediately after the UK implementation of the REACH Regulations I found that I had to admit admit ignorance when I received a call in which I was asked whether biogas produced from waste would fall under the REACH regulations.

I was soon reassured by colleagues that all was OK for those, like me that had not even thought of this, and that biogas did not require REACH registration and compliance.

As an Engineer in waste processing I don't have responsibility for legal compliance, and hence this was not a major gap in my knowledge, nevertheless, I did not know of the background until I read Philip Charlesworth's article in the Chartered Institution of Waste Management's monthly journal for this month.

I am sure that Philip will not mind me copying a part of his article below, which hopefully makes the background to all this clear:

In October this year the lead REACH enforcement body, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), issued a fact sheet to explain the position on "recovered waste substances". This publication stated that "[waste] recovery businesses are considered to be manufacturers under REACH". A list of waste "recovery" operations is included in the imminent revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).

Registration may be required where a new substance is produced in the manufacturing process. Where a substance has been recovered, or a new substance has been produced, and this is then incorporated into the manufacture of an "article", that “article” may not be caught by REACH.

An article is defined as an “... object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determinates its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition".

This could apply to products made from recycled waste. It follows from Article 7 of REACH that substances contained within the "articles" that are not intended to be released from within the "articles" during use, would not need to be registered (unless the substances are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction).

REACH specifically exempts the following products that have been manufactured from waste substances; compost, biogas, glass and minerals occurring in their natural state.

These exemptions would appear to support the preamble to REACH, which states that incentives for waste recycling and recovery should be maintained. The exemptions also enable the Government to meet the objectives of Article 6 of the revised WFD by continuing to publish quality protocols for "end of waste" materials. Protocols are already available for compost and some aggregate products derived from waste.

The Government must have enforcement of REACH, following the expiry of the 1 December 2008 deadline. This will see the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 come into force (in accordance with Article 126 of REACH). The leading enforcement body (the "competent authority") is the HSE and it will have powers to take action against "recycling and recovery" operations that may have been required to register.

In England and Wales the HSE will join forces with the Environment Agency, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and local authorities to control the manufacture and placing on the market of articles and substances, protection of the environment and the safety of consumer products from chemical substances.

The European Chemicals Agency intends to publish a list of all the pre-registered substances in January 2009.

CIWM Members can email the CIWM for more information. Non-members requiring more information can contact Philip Charlesworth. I will have to avoid giving his email as it reads for fear of him receiving a lot of spam from this posting from the plague of spambots which continually scrape web pages for email addresses to send spam. I will therefore describe his ema-il address as containing after the @ sign preceded with the word info.

IF you are not already a CIWM member, why not consider applying?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

UK Planning Bill receives Royal Assent Plus Environment and Transport Bills Moved On

Planning Bill receives Royal Assent...

Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 27 November 2008

The Planning Bill has completed the legislative process after receiving Royal Assent last night.

The government says the Planning Act 2008 will enable decisions on major infrastructure projects in areas such as energy, aviation, road and rail transport, water and waste to be taken much more speedily than under the current system.

Under the Act ministers will set out National Policy Statements detailing national infrastructure priorities and the decisions as to whether to allow individual projects to go ahead will then be taken independently by a new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

The government will set out a timetable to set-up the IPC and consult on the detailed regulations and NPSs to implement the new system in the New Year.

Communities secretary Hazel Blears said: "Now that the Planning Bill has been given Royal Assent we can begin to create the faster, fairer planning system we need to reduce our fossil fuel addiction and build up a new generation of renewable energy infrastructure sources like wind power. Many low carbon power sources will now get faster approval, and the country could save £300m a year."

Planning Bill minister John Healey added: "The new Planning Act 2008 will bring about real culture change for deciding the future needs of our national infrastructure. Importantly it will also give the public three chances to get their views on proposals across instead of one."

But countryside campaigners the CPRE expressed doubts about how well the Bill will work in practice. Paul Miner, CPRE’s senior planning campaigner commented: "We have monitored the Bill closely throughout its passage through Parliament. Some of it is sensible. But we doubt that its centrepiece – an expensive, unelected, unaccountable commission taking big planning decisions – will work in practice.

"There is a grave danger that this new commission will be seen merely as a promoter and a rubber stamp for highly damaging infrastructure projects imposed without proper debate. It will be interesting to see who steps forward to be a commissioner on this new body, given the challenges it faces."

The government launched the recruitment process for the position of IPC chairman in October. Shortlisting will take place early next year with interviews in spring and appointment in early summer.

...along with new environment and transport bills

Susanna Gillman, PlanningResource, 27 November 2008

A raft of other legislation that will impact on planning was passed last night along with the Planning Bill.

The Climate Change, Energy and Local Transport bills have also gained Royal Assent.

The climate legislation makes the UK the first country in the world to adopt legally-binding carbon emission targets.

Under the Climate Change Act, the government will have to adhere to five year carbon budgets and will be required to provide annual reports on its progress towards meeting the budgets.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "The UK is the first country in the world to introduce a legally-binding framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Setting the 80 per cent target was the easy part: now the work really begins. Government, communities, businesses and individuals need to work together to bring about change.

"The Energy and Planning Acts will be instrumental in reducing carbon emissions, removing barriers to enable industry to invest in important new infrastructure, and giving individuals and communities the incentive to use energy more efficiently and generate their own heat and energy."

Meanwhile the Local Transport Act 2008 will help bring all modes of transport together, by strengthening the role of the Passenger Transport Authorities - to be renamed Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) - and by enabling new ones to be established.

These will help major urban areas outside London to improve coordination of the road network and public transport.

The existing six Passenger Transport Authorities will be renamed ITAs from early in the new year. They will take on full responsibility for local transport planning across their areas.

The Act also creates the opportunity for local areas to review their existing arrangements, and to propose reforms including enhanced powers and boundary changes.

More at UK Government.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Information for Wasters about the UK's Pre-Budget Report

Waste@Westminster News


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling MP, has issued the pre-budget report for 2009, emphasising the Government’s desire not to let the current economic downturn impact on spending on renewable energy and other environmental projects.

“Action to achieve environmental goals remains a high priority,” he stated in his address to Parliament. Of key importance, the pre-budget report states the Renewables Obligation will be extended until “at least 2037”, in order to encourage increased investment in renewable energy technologies.

In addition the report reaffirms the Government’s aim to implement a feed in tariff for small-scale energy generation (under 5MW) and a renewable heat incentive to encourage more on site generation. Furthermore a new Low Carbon Industrial Strategy will be developed in 2009, outlining a vision of how companies can take advantage of a “low-carbon economy”.

The report also confirms that the scheduled increases in landfill tax, by £8 per tonne up to 2010/11 will go ahead and indeed will continue post-2011.

The increase in the lower rate of landfill tax, applying to inactive waste, from £2 per tonne to £2.50 (to be frozen at £2.50 in 2009/10) will also stay unchanged, as will the planned phase-out of the exemption from landfill tax for waste arising from the clean up of contaminated land by 2012 (in order to extend land remediation relief).

Finally, as previously announced, a new packaging strategy will be produced in 2009 setting out how packaging policy can contribute to a low carbon economy by reducing waste at source and increasing recycling.

To read the Chancellor’s statement to Parliament in full click here, or to read the full chapter, delivering on environmental goals, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Farm Biogas Distribution Network a US First for Cow Power

Despite economic woes and lack of green vision from the Bush administration, the Americans have done it again! They have, in California, gone ahead with the world's first and most amazing biogas distribution pipeline system for farm biogas.

BioEnergy Solutions: Kern County Supervisors Approve First-in-the-Nation Biogas Distribution Network
Landmark Cow Power Project Will Link up to Nine Farms to Generate Electricity for California Homes

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved construction of a biogas distribution network that will for the first time produce renewable natural gas from multiple dairy farms to generate power for utility customers, BioEnergy Solutions announced.

The distribution network, the first of its kind to be approved by a government authority in the U.S., will produce biogas from cow manure on as many as nine dairies in eastern Kern County, upgrade it to utility standards and deliver it into a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) pipeline.

Construction will begin in early 2009.

“California is the leading dairy producer in the U.S. and its dairies, with their abundant supplies of cow manure, have great potential for the production of renewable natural gas,” said David Albers, president of BioEnergy Solutions and a third-generation dairyman. “California’s dairy community is poised to pioneer the large-scale production of this cleaner, greener form of energy and create a model for agricultural and energy producers nationwide.”

Three of the nine farms have agreed to supply biogas to the network: C&R Vanderham Dairy, Inc., Whiteside Dairy and Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy. Their combined herd of 6,500 milk cows is expected to produce 615,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to generate power for 3,000 California homes.

BioEnergy Solutions, which builds and operates biogas pipeline facilities in California, will construct an underground pipeline linking the dairies which are located south of Lerdo Highway between the City of Shafter and Interstate 5. Biogas from the farms will be transported through the pipeline to an upgrade facility located at the Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy on Magnolia Avenue in Shafter.

Manure from the dairies’ cows will be mixed with water and flushed into a large covered lagoon on each farm. As the manure breaks down naturally and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide, the gas will be captured and delivered through an underground pipeline to the purification facility to remove its corrosive materials and upgrade it to utility standards. The resulting renewable natural gas, more than 99 percent pure methane, will be pressurized and delivered into the PG&E pipeline for use in the production of energy for residential customers in northern and central California.

Known as the Shafter cluster, the nine-farm network could include as many as 26,700 milk cows, 17 percent of the dairy herd population in Kern County, and produce enough clean-burning natural gas to meet the energy needs of 12,000 California homes. The cluster could also reduce the equivalent of 220,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the same as taking 38,500 cars off local roads.

BioEnergy Solutions’ first biogas project began production earlier this year at Vintage Dairy in western Fresno County. It is producing 175,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to power 1,200 California homes. A neighboring farm, the Pier van der Hoek ... More...

Friday, November 14, 2008

French Natural Gas Network Soon to Accept Biomethane

Biomethane is coming to the French natural gas network

In France, authorisation for injecting biomethane fuel into the natural gas distribution network has until now been subject to an assessment of the environmental and health risks. The French Agency for Health and Safety in the Environment and Workplace (AFSSET) came to a favourable conclusion on the 29th October. The injection of biomethane into the network, as well as a fiscal approach which favours the principle of “green gas”, will allow the field of biomethane fuel, considered the best way of developing biogas, to make progress under much better conditions.

Although natural gas as a fuel is already considered to be safe, efficient and less polluting than petrol or diesel, French support for the field of biomethane fuel is fairly recent. However, initiatives have demonstrated all of its benefits. In Lille (Metropolitan Urban Community, LMCU), the methanisation of urban organic waste has meant that the biomethane obtained has been used as a fuel in the city’s buses and domestic waste disposal vehicles. Furthermore, this approach has been legitimised environmentally by a study of the life cycle of the methods of developing biogas, commissioned in September 2007 by ADEME and GDF (to download the ACV conclusions, go to the BiogasMax web site).

At the ‘Grenelle’ Environment Conference (October 2007) the biogas club had submitted several ways of proceeding with the work for developing this field, which has enormous ecological benefits.

The club’s voice was heard: at a recent conference on this subject, Charles ThiĆ©baut (from the Department of Risk Prevention at the Ministry of the Environment, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning) said that “the commitment had been made to favour methanisation by supporting it and modifying regulations” (National Technical Day conference, 07.10.08 – Succeeding with a methanisation project including household, agricultural and industrial waste, ADEME).

The development of the biogas fuel field was waiting for authorisation to inject its biomethane into the natural gas network, as even if the production of biogas is continuous, vehicle consumption can fluctuate. In order to be used as a fuel, biogas has to undergo processes known as “purification” (drying, desulphurisation, decarbonisation) which makes biomethane very similar to NGV natural gas for vehicles.

In the first instance, therefore, authorisation for injection had to be subject to technical specifications. These having been established and published by GDF in December 2007, (download the GDF technical specifications), there only remained the assessment of risks to public health and the environment.

This study was requested from the French Agency for Health and Safety in the Environment and Workplace (AFSSET) in September 2006. Its conclusions are now available and are “unequivocally favourable when biogas is produced from methanisation of waste or from storage of non-dangerous waste.”

Very soon, therefore, the Centre for Organic Development (CVO) in Lille-Sequedin should receive authorisation from the Ministry in charge of energy and be able to put into operation the connection of its canalisation system of purified biogas with the French gas network. Having opened the way, it will be the local authorities who will subsequently issue these authorisations. More here...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UK Energy Bill to Include Renewable Heat Incentive

The Energy Bill received its third reading in the House of Lords on 5 November 2008 and includes proposals from the Department for Energy and Climate Change for a scheme to incentivise investment in renewable heat. Currently, energy used for heating accounts for just under half of all the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, while only 0.6% of heat generated in the UK is derived from renewable sources.

The Government has been considering for some time how to reduce heat-related emissions and boost heat generation from renewable sources. Earlier this year, the Government issued a Call for Evidence on Heat (see our related Law-Now) and sought views on introducing a financial incentive to encourage heat from renewable sources in Chapter 4 of its consultation on the UK Renewable Energy Strategy (see Law-Now).

The amendments to the Energy Bill will enable a scheme to provide financial support to any supplier of renewable heat. Support may also be available to producers of biogas or biomethane or to producers of biofuel used for generating heat. The scheme will provide a welcome boost to renewable CHP (Combined Heat and Power) producers and the bio-waste industry, among others.

Key points to note are:

- There is flexibility to band the level of support according to the technology used for generating heat.
- Eligible renewable heat sources for the scheme are biomass, biofuels, fuel cells, water (including waves and tides), solar power, geothermal sources, heat from air, water or the ground and combined heat and power systems (using a renewable fuel only).
- There is no specified limit on the size of plant which will be eligible for support, as the scheme is intended to cover both domestic and industrial scale projects.
- The scheme will be financed by fossil fuel suppliers, perhaps through a levy which would be administrated by Ofgem.

The amendments to the Energy Bill do not contain information on when the scheme will come into force, but the government has acknowledged it would take at least 18 months to develop the details of the scheme and implement the necessary secondary legislation.

The Government’s consultation expected later in November as part of the development of its Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy is likely to provide a forum to develop the details of the scheme. In that consultation, the governement will consider the issue of heat in the round from a low carbon, renewable and CHP perspective, as well as links to energy efficiency, notes Hergen Haye, the Director for Heat Policy at DECC.

The Energy Bill now only requires the House of Commons to approve the Lords’ amendments before receiving royal assent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Selby Yorkshire Anaerobic Digestion Plant Goes to Planning

£20m green energy plant raises hopes of 120 jobs

Published Date: 08 November 2008
By Mark Branagan
MORE than 120 jobs will be created in the Selby area under a £20m scheme announced yesterday to produce enough green energy from left-over food to light up the entire town.

Planning consent is being sought for a renewable power plant – by Grantham-based Whites Renewable Energy – on the site of the former Tate and Lyle citric acid plant, with its motorway links via the Selby by-pass.

Developers say the eight-acre Selby Renewable Energy Park would create 120 jobs for the town, 40 directly and 80 indirectly. It would also generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 10,800 homes for a year via the National Grid – equivalent to the whole of the town.

The plant would use the latest technology for treating organic waste, particularly food waste, in Britain, called anaerobic digestion. The process involves sealing off organic matter in containers with no oxygen and breaking it down into a gas used to generate power.

Because the raw material is kitchen scraps the system has the advantage over other bio-fuels that it is not increasing demand for food products and pushing up High Street prices. There is also a fertiliser by-product that can help grow crops.

Whites managing director David Balderson said: "Anaerobic digestion is widely recognised by the Government and Friends of the Earth as one of the best solutions for disposing of organic waste.

"Everyone wins, as the waste is treated in a sealed process reducing the generation of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. A clean, renewable fuel is produced which can be used to create electricity and heat."

The plant will also provide a potential low-cost heat source for local businesses. An anaerobic digester already exists on the site, which is currently being updated. The proposal is to build two similar pieces of equipment.

Mr Balderson added: "This project will provide a significant boost to the local economy by creating jobs and will also make available a cheap non-fossil fuel heat source that will attract businesses to the area."

The firm says the initial response from the community has been very positive, as has that of the Government-backed Waste and Resources Action Program and Future Energy Yorkshire, an arm of Yorkshire Forward which promotes renewable energy projects.

Future Energy project manager Jo Adlard said: "The Yorkshire and Humber region has an important role to play in helping the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

"The proposed Selby Renewable Energy Park will contribute to our regional emissions reduction targets by generating renewable energy for export to the National Grid, while diverting large quantities of waste from landfill."

A report by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has already underlined the Government's wish for local authorities and businesses to make anaerobic digestion first choice for disposing of the 15-20 million tonnes of waste food in Britain every year.

Government experts say it has significant benefits over other technologies, is the preferred method in other EU states, and has the potential to power two million UK homes. More...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

UK Energy Bill - Feed-in Tariffs Welcomed by Biogas Industry

Legislation News from the New Energy Focus Web Site; Industry welcomes feed-in tariffs for power and heat

Biomethane transport fuels company CNG Services has said the renewable heat incentive would allow "green gas" to be used to fuel commercial vehicles.

The renewable energy industry has welcomed government plans to bring in feed-in tariffs for green power and heat - but has called for a clear timetable for their introduction.

Separate tariff schemes are being developed to promote small scale electricity generation and to incentivise the use of renewable fuels in producing heat (see this New Energy Focus story).

The renewable energy sector's trade association, the Renewable Energy Association, said today that the proposals being included within the Energy Bill are "vague" and that no timetable is given within the legislation.

The REA, which has been lobbying for some time to get a feed-in tariff to promote both small scale renewable electricity and heat, said there was enthusiasm among its members for the government's decision to adopt the measures.

Philip Wolfe, director general of the REA, said: "The REA has repeatedly called for the introduction of a tariff and we are delighted that government has recognised that this incentive will encourage new groups of players into the market. We also welcome the recognition of the urgent need to support renewable heat and biogas. Heat represents the biggest energy use in the UK, and had previously been ignored by policy-makers.

"However the amendments it has tabled are very vague and the lack of any firm timetable shows that there's still a long way to go," Mr Wolfe added.

3MW Cap

The wind industry's trade association, the British Wind Energy Association, also welcomed the feed-in tariff amendment, but expressed concern regarding the 3MW cap included within the legislation.

This cap means that projects above a 3MW size would receive support through the Renewables Obligation, with smaller projects rewarded with the feed-in tariff. However, the government could set a lower cap through secondary legislation as it finalises the details of the feed-in tariffs.

Jennifer Webber, public affairs manager at BWEA, told New Energy Focus today: "We are delighted to see that the Secretary of State has tabled this amendment as we have been calling for it for some time. However we do feel that the threshold of 3MW is too high, and we are concerned that it could interfere with the function of the Renewables Obligation. We would like to see the threshold lowered to 250-300kW."

The biogas sector has welcomed the proposed renewable heat incentive, suggesting the move was "potentially significant".

Biogas companies believe the incentive will offer an alternative to the current Renewables Obligation, which pushes plants like anaerobic digesters to generate electricity by burning biomethane - wasting the heat produced in the power generation.

UK Incentives for Anaerobic Digestion Welcomed

Biogas Firms Welcome Natural Methane Incentives

As scientists claim methane emissions are rising faster than expected, the government unveils plans for improved incentives for methane capture projects, says
Andrew Donoghue, BusinessGreen, 31 Oct 2008

Industry has welcomed the government's introduction this week of a new clause in the energy bill which will provide incentives for natural methane capture and biogas projects designed to produce renewable energy.

The move increases existing support for renewable methane projects, which produce or capture methane from landfill sites, sewage and slurry, or anaerobic digestor technologies, and aims to make it easier to connect the resulting biogas grid.

Under the new amendment, renewable gas producers will be able to add the methane to the gas grid and will receive government subsidies for that process, according to gas consultancy CNGS Services.

"At the moment the UK is the biggest producer of biogas in Europe," said CNG's managing director, John Baldwin. "By 2020, I hope that the UK government will have implemented a target, in the same way the Dutch and German governments have a target, so that 10 per cent of the gas that is burned is renewable."

According to Baldwin, it is important that the government gets behind renewable or biogas production because North Sea reserves of natural gas are decreasing and by 2020, the UK's use of indigenous suppliers could drop to about 30 per cent compared with 70 per cent imported gas. But with backing for renewable gas, the figures could change to 30 per cent use of indigenous fossil gas, 10 per cent from renewables and 60 per cent from imports, Baldwin claims.

Currently, generators of electricity from renewable sources receive a Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) for every megawatt produced. From next April, electricity created from natural methane will be credited with two ROCs for every megawatt – equivalent to about £100.

CNG and other members of the Renewable Energy Association hope that the amendments to the energy bill announced this week will also provide incentives – equivalent to two ROCs – rewarding electricity producers for the waste heat that is generated from burning renewable gas.

Renewable gas is only about 30 per cent efficient and a lot of heat is wasted, but by adding the gas to the grid, backers of the technology believe that the wasted energy can be more efficiently harnessed.

The increased support for renewable methane follows reports released this week that levels of natural methane in the atmosphere have increased dramatically over the past 12 months. According to scientists from MIT, the rise in 2007 was about 10 parts per billion over the course of a year.

The rise is being put down to a decline in the amounts of a compound called hydroxyl free radical, which naturally breaks up methane in the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is many times more effective than carbon at blocking in heat.

Commenting on the rise, CNG's Baldwin said that one way to combat the rise of natural methane is to make sure more waste is used to create renewable gas that can be harnessed and burned, rather than allowing it to generate natural methane.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leading UK Anaerobic Digestion Companies Merge

Two of the firms to first pioneer the use of anaerobic digestion technology for the treatment of municipal solid waste in the UK have merged in a move which they claim will "significantly change" the face of the industry.

BIOGEN (UK) Ltd, which runs a flagship 42,000 tonne-a-year capacity AD plant at Twinwoods in Bedfordshire, has taken over Shropshire-based engineering company Greenfinch.

Greenfinch runs a 5,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant in Ludlow which was the first full-scale AD facility to treat municipal waste in the UK (see story) and is one of Defra's New Technologies Demonstrator projects.

The new company, entitled BiogenGreenfinch, now plans to deliver "a fully integrated AD solution to the agricultural, food, waste and water industries and to local authorities" and will employ 43 people.

Michael Chesshire, founder of Greenfinch and technology director of BiogenGreenfinch, said: "Britain needs a strong home grown AD industry and BiogenGreenfinch brings together the expertise and resources of two pioneering companies which have invested heavily in the development of the technology for food waste, for agriculture and for the water industry."

He added: "Interest in AD has increased enormously over the past two years because of its strong credentials as a low carbon technology, addressing the challenges of landfill diversion, energy costs, fertiliser costs and resource management."

Biogen build and operate AD plants to convert food waste and animal slurry into energy and biofertilser. Its facilities treat food waste from local authorities and food manufacturers and slurry from a pig farming operation run by its parent company, Bedfordia.

Greenfinch is an engineering company that provides AD technology for sewage, slurry and food waste treatment. It designed, built and runs the South Shropshire Biodigester in Ludlow.


Dan Poulson, chief executive of BiogenGreenfinch said: "This is an exciting milestone for both companies. BiogenGreenfinch has secured funding from Bedfordia Group plc which has invested a total of £18m to develop the business. The consolidation of two such complementary businesses enables a significant increase in research and development investment, improving further on the second generation AD plant currently under construction and ten further plants in development."

An AD facility planned by BIOGEN is currently under construction at Westwood, near Rushden in Northamptonshire, and is set to process 45,000 tonnes of food waste each year and produce enough electricity to power 2,000 homes. It is expected to be operational by March next year (see story).

John Ibbett, chairman of BiogenGreenfinch and of Bedfordia Group said: "We feel privileged and delighted to be joining forces. Both Biogen and Greenfinch have grown from family businesses with strong values and these will continue to be upheld."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recent Conferences Feature on AD when Reducing Waste to Landfill

There have been a number of events and conferences that have taken place so far this Autumn in the waste field that have been set up with the key driver of reducing waste sent to landfill - and guess what they include in their armoury of options, to do this - Anerobic Digestion!

The UK government's Defra funded New Technology Demonstrator Programme (NTDP) features in many of the events. The NTDP sets out to provide councils and staff from the local authorities with the opportunity of seeing new technologies for waste processing in operation, and for the lucky chosen few operators the opportunity to show off their technological prowess in developing these plants, commissioning, and operating them.

Information being gathered and publicised about the new technologies in the NTD Programme is playing a vital role in informing the discussions on a national scale.

Some recent conferences have been:

European Biofuels Expo and Conference

This conference took place in Nottingham on October 15th and 16th it aimed to balance the recent negative press and focus on the ‘good’ biofuels and how to address the challenges facing the industry. The 3rd annual event covered sustainable biofuel and bioenergy solutions for a low CO2, long-term sustainable future. Day 1 of the conference included speakers and workshops on biogas production through anaerobic digestion.

Food Waste Collection and Processing Conference (MRW)

This conference on October 16th aimed to “bring together innovative local authorities, Central Government policy makers, pioneering waste processing facilities and top consultants to set the path forward for a fully joined up solution to food waste.” Presentations included discussion around the WRAP food collection trails, in which the Biocycle Anaerobic Digestion plant, in Ludlow has participated. There was also a focus on incorporating business food in to local waste strategies, again, a scheme is being piloted in Ludlow with the Biocycle demonstrator facility.

As well as discussion on anaerobic digestion (AD), the key role of in-vessel composting (IVC) is also highlighted, and this new technology is demonstrated by Bioganix and Envar as part of the NTDP.

Scottish Waste and Resources Conference, Glasgow

Formally known as Eventful Scotland, this high profile event was held on October 7th and 8th.

Although not directly featuring any of the NTDP plants, this conference focused on some of the key issues being highlighted by the Defra Programme such as:

. residual waste and its options;
• love food, hate waste;
• residual waste energy and heat;
• food waste experience; and
anaerobic digestion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

UK Government Consults on Plan to Slow Biofuel Targets

Transport minister Andrew Adonis launched a consultation today on the government's plan to slow its annual rise in targets for using biofuels within UK road transport fuel.

The consultation, which closes December 17, 2008, represents the response to this summer's Gallagher Review, which recommended a more cautious approach to promoting biofuels because of concerns about their social and environmental side-effects

The plan under consultation from today includes slowing the annual increase in renewable transport fuel targets to 0.5% each year.

This would see the target under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) rising to 5% in 2013/14, rather than in 2010/11 as in current plans.

Launching the consultation, Mr Adonis said: "Everyone agrees that to tackle climate change we must develop new and cleaner fuels. But we are clear that biofuels will only have a role to play in this if they are sustainably produced."

Within the consultation, the government said it wants to add biobutanol and hydrogenated renewable diesel to the list of renewable fuels that qualify under the RTFO, which requires all companies that supply more than 450,000 litres of petrol or diesel to UK forecourts to include proportions of renewable fuel within their supplied products.

EU target

The Department for Transport said it is still supporting the proposed European target of 10% renewable transport fuels by 2020, as being negotiated within the forthcoming Renewable Energy Directive.

But, contradicting its statement of support, the Department said the 10% target was "not presently justified by the scientific evidence" and would only be possible if new controls on land use change were enforced globally.

Transport ministers want the target to be kept open to review should new evidence emerge on the impacts of biofuels.

In the mean time, the government said sustainability criteria for biofuels are being negotiated and should address indirect as well as direct effects on land use, while the government said it aims to help draw up international standards and controls on biofuels "which reflect the international nature of the biofuels industry".

Long-term policy

As well as the immediate changes to the RTFO targets, which will be pushed through Parliament within the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (Amendment) Order 2009, today's consultation also poses some "long-term" policy questions.

The government is seeking views on issues that could help shape future UK biofuels policies, including support for using tallow as a biofuel, and how to encourage more production of second-generation biofuels - biofuels made from non-food crops.

Europe's draft Renewable Energy Directive suggests double rewards for biofuels from non-food sources, and the government in the UK also believes "we should aim to target support on the development of lower carbon and other so called ‘second generation' biofuels".

Further questions within the consultation ask for views on whether to split the RTFO to introduce quotas for first generation biofuels and separate targets for other renewable fuels. And, the government is looking into how to link the RTFO targets to carbon emissions savings achieved by biofuels, in order to encourage efficient production processes.


Alongside the biofuels consultation today, the Department also announced a new £6 million injection of funding into research the Carbon Trust is carrying out into developing advanced biofuels.

Mr Adonis said: "We need to take a more cautious approach to biofuels and today's consultation sets out our options, as well as dedicating a further £6 million to helping ensure that second generation biofuels are truly sustainable."

Anaerobic Digestion Quality Protocol nears Completion

AnDigestion Ltd, which currently requires 60-70 separate consents for digestate from its AD plant in Devon, has welcomed the Protocol.

A major regulatory barrier to the development of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the UK is close to being overcome, with work to develop a "quality protocol" for the process now nearing completion, writes James Cartledge.

The Protocol will allow companies generating energy through the AD process to deal with the residues from the process more easily - opening the door to potentially hundreds or even thousands of new schemes in the UK.

Anaerobic digestion generates energy from organic waste materials including household or commercial food waste, as well as agricultural wastes and slurry. The technology involves huge tanks in which the organic material is broken down by bacteria, which generate energy-rich "biogas", which is mainly methane.

But while the solid residues from the process is a useful nitrogen-rich fertiliser, farmers seeking to use it on their fields are currently hindered by its legal classification as a "waste".

The new Quality Protocol will mean that if the digestate material is produced to a certain standard - known as PAS 110 and also nearing completion - the fertiliser will not be classed as a waste in the eyes of the law.

Yesterday saw the developers of the Protocol, the government's Waste and Resources Action Programme, granting the UCAS-accredited scheme independence by formally handing over its operation to the Renewable Energy Association.

At the REA's Bioenergy 2008 event in Birmingham, the Association announced formation of a new oversight panel for the AD Quality Protocol, chaired by Defra policy advisor Roger Unwin. The REA is now inviting representatives of different industry sectors interested in anaerobic digestion to come forward to become members of the Protocol oversight panel.

Mr Unwin said yesterday: "I have been asked to announce that there will be an REA biogas certification scheme, it will be working with this Quality Protocol to a PAS 110 standard, which should shortly be available."

The final form of the Protocol is awaiting only the sign-off from the Environment Agency, which polices waste regulations including governing the spreading of organic waste-derived fertilisers on land. More...

Agri-food Producers Could Do More to Send Food Waste to Anaerobic Digestion Plants says Greg Hilton

Bidwells Proposes Anaerobic Solution

Agri-food businesses and householders alike could be diverting more of their food waste to anaerobic digestion plants in order to save on volumes going to landfill and creating a renewable energy source.

Greg Hilton, Renewable Energy consultant for Bidwells Agribusiness said: “We throw away over 6 million tonnes of food waste each year, with the vast majority going to landfill. If we used just 10 per cent of this food waste in AD plants we would be able to supply 50,000 houses with clean, green energy. We would also have a significant impact on our carbon emissions as the food sector is responsible for around 20 per cent of the entire UK carbon emissions.

Diverting food waste from landfill, where it produces the damaging greenhouse gas methane, would make a big difference." The outputs of AD are electricity for use on site or export to the national grid, as well as heat for use in the business or nearby properties, and a rich bio-fertiliser, which could have added benefits for horticultural and agricultural land.

Increases in landfill tax and increased returns from renewable electricity are likely to make AD increasingly attractive in the future. Hilton said: "Anaerobic Digestion offers a win-win situation. It diverts waste from going to landfill, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides high value, sustainable energy.

As energy prices increase, technology develops and pressure mounts to reduce carbon emissions, measures that are green and sustainable become increasingly popular and more viable.

At Bidwells we have…experience in evaluating the technical and economic viability of anaerobic digestion and biomass combined heat and power systems, and we predict that more and more projects will become economically viable over the coming years as margins improve and set up costs fall."

Meanwhile, Leicestershire County Council has recognised the potential value and benefits of anaerobic digestion and is offering support to businesses that would like to evaluate its potential. The council is offering grants of up to £5,000 for a maximum of half the value of an AD feasibility study and is keen to encourage businesses to take up the opportunity. More.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hydrolysis Combined with Anaerobic Digestion is a Winner for Sewage Sludge Digestion Plant Operators

Many of the the companies which have been involved in sewage sludge digestion and are the most experienced in the field are using thermal hydrolysis within their chosen processes. These companies tend to develop their own slant on optimising the hydrolysis stage and to use their own trade name, neverthelsss there is a common reason for doing this and it is to increase the rate of conversion of organic matter, to reduce retention periods within the digester and improve gas yields.

We have uploaded a new page with the title "Hydrolysis, Sewage Sludge and Anaerobic Digestion", to the UK Anaerobic Digestion Community web site, based upon Veolia's experience with using hydrolysis a part of the digester systems, which provides more information on this.

Sewage sludge digestion has been carried out by anaerobic digestion at some UK sewage works since in the UK sewage sludge first began to accumulate in the new activated sludge type sewage works built from the 1950's in inland areas. However, most of it was simply discharged to the sea untreated until the 1970s including huge tonnages from our large cities. Fortunately, those days are long past with the practice outlawed by the European Union, and ever since then, the huge volumes produced have been treated and disposed of by a variety of methods. All are expensive, and the lowest cost option of discharge untreated to land, brings with it health and soil-metals build up problems, such that its use has to be limited.

As a result, safe and cost-effective disposal of sewage sludge is, without doubt, one of the biggest challenges now facing the wastewater industry. The high cost of energy means that some disposal routes such as incineration which were once favoured are less viable, and others have ceased to be economic.

However, as one technology fades another shines. That process is thermal hydrolysis, and when combined with anaerobic digestion they are a great combination.

Companies such as CAMBI, Monsal, and Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies have recognised this and produced their own proprietary systems. More about advanced AD with hydrolysis.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Somersets Best Practice for Collecting Food Waste

We make no apology for providing posts on food waste collection. We believe that many AD Projects will rely heavily on food waste for performance and profitabiity, and therefore that the AD Community will be interested in articles like this one which inform about the development of the relatively new art of food waste collection.

Somerset shares best practice for collecting food waste

The Somerset Waste Partnership has recommended two ways in which councils can help successfully capture food waste which were "not fully covered" in recent WRAP research.

There are two aspects, not fully covered by the trials, involving food waste caddy liners and collection vehicles, which have been important features of our successful collections in Somerset

Published earlier this month (see story), the WRAP research was conducted by 19 local authorities serving over 94,000 households.

However, the SWP, which manages waste and recycling on behalf of Mendip, South Somerset, Sedgmoor and West Somerset district councils, Taunton Deane borough council and Somerset county council - has also provided food waste collections since October 2004 and serves over 165,000 households.

While welcoming the WRAP study, which highlighted public support for food waste collections, the SWP pointed out that it itself had increased yields through methods which were not discussed in detail.

In particular, it claimed it was not always necessary to provide free liners at a great cost to councils as had happened during the trials or to provide dedicated food waste collection vehicles - advocating selling liners locally and combined collection vehicles instead.

These methods have already helped the SWP to capture an average yield of 1.71 kg a household a week across Somerset, rising to 1.93kg in Taunton Deane. The SWP claimed that only two of the WRAP trials achieved more than this and overall averaged 1.7kg a household a week in areas where there were fortnightly refuse collections and 1.4kg a week for trials with weekly refuse collections.

David Mansell, strategy and communications team leader at the Somerset Waste Partnership, said: "The WRAP trials have increased knowledge on food waste collections, especially for multiple-occupancy housing and the performance that can be achieved over a range of local authorities, including those with weekly and fortnightly refuse collections. However, there are two aspects, not fully covered by the trials, involving food waste caddy liners and collection vehicles, which have been important features of our successful collections in Somerset."


While the WRAP study did acknowledge that the creation of an independent network for the distribution of liners could have the "added benefit of providing a new business opportunity for local retail outlets", WRAP said that the use of caddy liners was imperative in councils achieving high participation rates and issued them free of charge during the course of the study. Aware that there were certain resource implications, the study did state that the "associated avoided disposal costs could justify the provision of free liners".

However, the SWP said that when it first introduced food waste collections in 2004, the council stated that it could not afford to provide an on-going supply of caddy liners and instead promoted the use of newspaper to wrap food waste or line kitchen caddies and also made arrangements for liners to be sold in local shops.

Mr Mansell said: "Both options have worked well and retail liner sales have developed into a thriving local market, which we estimate could be worth over £450,000 a year in Somerset, with supermarkets and some local retailers now sourcing their own supplies."


The WRAP study also advocated the use of dedicated food collection vehicles, which the SWP contested.

The SWP currently operates combined collection vehicles which it says suits the rural layout of the authority.

Mr Mansell said: "The other feature of the Somerset collections which varies from the WRAP trials is the use of combined collection vehicles for greater operational efficiency, especially on collections in rural areas. The WRAP pilots used separate dedicated collection vehicles for food waste. In Somerset, our contractor, May Gurney, uses stillage vehicles which combine recycling and food waste collections."

Related links

The Partnership is currently undertaking trials of a three-way split compaction vehicle, which would have a section for food waste behind the driver's cab and split compaction chambers at the rear for plastics bottles and cardboard. The SWP pointed to the capabilities of this collection type and how it is currently used on the Isle of Wight to collect both food waste and refuse.

A 19-page information pack on Somerset's food waste collections is available from the Somerset Waste Partnership by emailing:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Anaerobic Digestion is the Way Forward Ruddock Says

An anaerobic digestion plant in Ludlow, which takes food waste from the town and turns it into electricity and compost, was described as ‘the way forward’ by Minister for Waste, Joan Ruddock when she visited the site last week.

The plant is part of Defra’s £30 million New Technologies Demonstrator Programme which tests innovative technology that could offer alternatives to landfill. The Ludlow partnership attributes some of its success to good communication with the local community, which has led to 70 percent of residents taking part in the voluntary food waste collection scheme which supplies the plant.

Anaerobic digestion breaks down organic matter to produce biogas which can be used as a renewable energy source for heat and power, and as a transport fuel. It produces a nutrient-rich digestate which can be used as fertiliser, and importantly it keeps organic waste out of landfill, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions. At its full potential it is thought anaerobic digestion could produce enough electricity to power 2 million homes.

Visiting the Ludlow plant, Joan Ruddock said:

“Anaerobic digestion is extremely attractive. Why would we go on throwing food waste into holes in the ground when we could generate our own electricity and end up with a product that can be returned to the soil?
“It seems to me that a plant on this scale would fit into any industrial estate in the country. While the decision has to be taken locally – and in consultation with residents – I am sure this is the way forward.”
Defra is now making a further £10 million available for a programme to test the full range of applications and benefits of anaerobic digestion. This will be delivered through a capital grant competition run by the Waste and Resources Action Programme with assistance from the Carbon Trust. Between three and six projects will be selected, and bids will be invited in the autumn.

Anyone interested can register for more information at: [Broken Link]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Further Boost for Anaerobic Digestion from DEFRA Demonstrators

Defra unveils fresh boost for AD

Defra has announced the next stage of its £10 million anaerobic digestion demonstrator project with bids invited for between three and six new schemes which will be built to showcase the benefits of treating waste using the technology.

Ministers Joan Ruddock, Phil Woolas and Jeff Rooker met with industry and non-governmental organisation (NGO) executives yesterday (July 16) to discuss the future of the anaerobic digestion (AD) demonstrator projects. The scheme was originally announced by Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn, in February 2008.

"Our £10 million demonstration programme will provide a focus for joint action to make sure that the future development of anaerobic digestion in England is as cost-effective and environmentally beneficial as possible."

Phil Woolas, Energy Minister.

Defra met with the executives to discuss practical ways to achieve a major increase in the use of anaerobic digestion.

Energy minister Phil Woolas said: "Anaerobic digestion is still an emerging technology outside the water treatment industry in this country, and it's clear we are not yet making full use of its potential.

"It has a number of real environmental benefits which we want to maximise, but to do this we need to overcome certain barriers, like the chicken and egg stand-off which can discourage investment in unfamiliar technology, and the lack of understanding of its benefits or the value of its outputs.

He added "Our £10 million demonstration programme will provide a focus for joint action to make sure that the future development of anaerobic digestion in England is as cost-effective and environmentally beneficial as possible. We will be inviting bids for the projects in the autumn."

The industry and Defra agreed at the meeting to work together to overcome barriers to greater use of AD and to take action to increase its capacity in the UK. Delegates at the event heard that AD has the potential to produce enough energy to power up to two million homes.

The AD demonstrator programme will be delivered through a capital grant competition run by the Waste and Resources Action Programme with assistance from the Carbon Trust.

Each of the three to six projects chosen will demonstrate how ‘state of the art' use of AD technology can make a significant contribution to achieving one or more of the following aims:

• maximising the cost effective production of biogas;
• maximising the environmental benefits from the use of anaerobic digestion and its products;
• maximising the potential of anaerobic digestion to reduce the carbon footprint of the food supply chain;
• maximising the opportunity for the injection of biomethane into the gas grid; and
• maximising the potential of anaerobic digestion to reduce the carbon footprint of water treatment infrastructure.

See the full article at LetsRecycle here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Report: Energy-from-Waste and Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the Most Sustainable Option

Scottish waste policy set to lean towards CHP

Two reports which will help form the "cornerstone" of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency's policy on the thermal treatment of waste have both advocated the use of combined heat and power.

The studies, which were published by SEPA in tandem yesterday (July 3), come in the wake of the Scottish Government's opposition to larger Energy-from-Waste facilities (including anaerobic digestion) which it views as "inefficient" (see story), and, perhaps reflecting this, they both recommend "small-scale" rather than large plants.

"There is recognition that waste at any level has an inherent value and that value can be recovered through the generation of heat and power."

John Ferguson, SEPA

Research from both reports is currently being used to revise SEPA's Thermal Treatment Guidelines, which are set to be published in September 2008, and are described by the agency as "the cornerstone" of its policy on energy from waste.

"The guidelines will ensure that thermal treatment in Scotland enables the recovery of energy efficiently and does not impede waste prevention and recycling," SEPA explained.

While examining different aspects of waste management, both reports arrive at the conclusion that providing combined heat and power through Energy-from-Waste and anaerobic digestion (AD) is the most sustainable option available for various waste streams.


Published by consultancy AEA Environment and Energy, the first report, entitled 'The Evaluation of Energy from Biowaste Arisings and Forestry Residues in Scotland', assesses the energy value within the country's garden, kitchen and food waste, and related wastes.

And, it discovered that, of the 13.73 million tonnes of this kind of waste produced in Scotland each year, 9.634 million tonnes of it was "technically suitable to be processed in an anaerobic digestion or thermal treatment plant to obtain energy".

After analysing the energy content of these biowastes, the report calculated the potential for conversion to "useful" energy (heat or electricity) and, using combined heat and power as the preferred option, discovered that there is the potential for 2,285,200 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity and 8,784,1000 MWh to be produced.


The report estimated that 741 AD and 228 thermal treatment plants, "allowing localised energy production and waste treatment", would be required to achieve this level of electricity and heat production, and also claimed that it would offset up to 5.6% of Scotland's total net greenhouse gas emissions.

While it did not examine economic issues, the report concluded that: "Given the substantial technical potential, even if a modest proportion of this were to be economic, energy from waste has a material contribution to make to Scotland's energy supply."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Biofuels: Rising Food Prices Force United Kingdom Government Rethink

Biofuels were being seen as the sustainable answer to both global warming and a means to take the sting out of rising fuel prices.

However, a report to be published on Monday 6 July 2008, is expected to force the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to rethink his support for using crops to keep Britain's cars and lorries running.

Unexpectedly rapidly rising world food prices look set to force Gordon Brown to take U-turn over the use of crops such as corn, rapeseed, palm and soya to produce fuel as an alternative to petrol and diesel.

A second and related report will also, the Independent Newspaper believes, force the UK government to revise its policies on food and the environment inevitably opening Mr Brown to the charge from environmental groups that he will be going soft on the Government's green agenda.

In the first report the Prime Minister will be been warned in a report by Professor Ed Gallagher, head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, that the rush for bio-fuels has made a "significant" contribution to the soaring cost of food on the global markets. Corn ethanol and biodiesel derived from vegetable oil were being widely being seen as important ways of creating fuel and combating carbon emissions which contribute to global warming, until these recent food cost increases.

Substantially increased use of biofuel was an important plank in Mr Brown's, and European environmental strategy. The UK government introduced targets in April in Britain requiring all petrol and diesel to contain 2.5 per cent of bio-fuels with the intention of doubling it to 5 per cent by 2010.

The policy has also been further developed in Europe where the EU has been debating a 10 per cent target by 2020. Professor Gallagher's report will say the production of fuels from "biomass" - non-food crops - may be sustainable but it challenges the targets for producing fuel from other crops normally used for food.

Greenpeace said biofuels initially "looked good on paper" but the Gallagher review would conclude that the risks are too great to impose higher targets.

The campaign group has called for a moratorium on targets, subsidies and tax breaks for bio-fuel consumption until it was clear that these fuels could be produced from sustainable sources.

Oxfam said: "It is clear that any additional pressure on limited land resources has the potential to drive further agriculture clearance of forests or other habitats and to drive up food prices."

The vast majority of the European biodiesel was made from rapeseed oil, said Oxfam. "As we divert more and more rapeseed crop into fuel, European industry is buying increasing supplies of edible oils from overseas including palm oil.

A second report by the UK Cabinet Office strategy unit is intended to launch a debate over how Britain uses its land more effectively to produce more food.

Anaerobic Digestion News: Our view is that Anaerobic Digestion of waste biomass IS capable of producing sustainable biofuels which do combat climate change.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dorset Consent Soon for £3¼ million Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Dorset Composting Firm to Branch into AD

Dorset-based composting firm Eco Sustainable Solutions is adding to its portfolio of facilities with a £3 ¼ million anaerobic digestion site which is currently in the final planning stages and a brand new transfer station.

Trelawney Dampney, managing director of Eco Sustainable Solutions, revealed yesterday that he expects to get consent for a £3 ¼ million anaerobic digestion (AD) plant within the next three or four months.

He also hopes the company's £10 million biomass generator, which was first proposed in 2006 (see story), will have gained planning permission by the end of this year.

The AD facility, which is expected to go to Piddlehinton, five miles north of Dorchester, will process 35,000 tonnes of waste per year. Mr Dampney said it was a "sizeable investment" for the company and once built, would be their second largest site.

The plant will take in food waste, green waste and pig slurry from local farms. Mr Dampney expects the final product will be returned to the site in Parley to be blended and sold on for use in horticulture, although he anticipates that some will be used for agriculture.

Mr Dampney explained that so far the AD project had been entirely funded by Eco Sustainable Solutions "but we may look to get support from WRAP to assist us in funding construction."

He added that the firm had not decided on the type of equipment for the AD plant yet but were looking at "two or three tenders at the moment and will decide within the next three months."


The AD plant is part of the bigger picture for Eco Sustainable Solutions. It is also planning to build a £10 million biomass generator at their site in Parley. It is currently awaiting a planning decision for the 2.5MW power station.

Eco Sustainable Solutions is hoping to run the biomass generator of dirty waste wood sourced from civic amenity sites.

Mr Dampney said:

"It moves us more into the future with the waste and energy sector especially going forward with a biomass generator. Our goal has always been to maximize the back-end value of everything we produce."

Full LetsRecycle article here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bio-methane for Transport Vehicle Use Encouraged in United Kingdom

The following post was placed on the KARAMEL web site and appeared in Biogasmax ( ) on 6 March 2008, and although it is not exactly a new posting, I thought it of sufficient interest to include here.

I am not absolutely certain about the definition of bio-methanisation as used by the Europeans, but in this context it appears to be refering to the scrubbing and compressing of biologically produced methane, as is produced by anaerobic digestion.

The posting follows:-

Increasing interest for bio-methane in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is becoming more and more interested in bio-methanisation and in bio-methane for vehicle use. This renewable « natural gas » has already attracted the attention of the UK government. English companies with an interest in natural gas and renewable energies, supported by John Baldwin (Managing Director of CNG Services Ltd), are hoping to obtain the same financial status for this « green » gas as that accorded to «green» electricity. During the Biogasmax Friends Day (30.01.08 in Bern), we were pleased to welcome a scientific observer from Exeter University. As well as this, on March 03, 2008, Cenex organized a one-day conference in London to promote organic waste bio-methanisation with the aim of clean fuel production.

Since 2005 – 2006, six new bio-methanisation plants have been built in the United Kingdom, increasing UK capacity by over 100%. In 2007, two new plants were started and many new biogas projects indicate that similar levels of expansion are now possible in Germany.

The British Minister for Sustainable Consumption and Production, Joan Ruddock, declared that her Department considered «Anaerobic Digestion» the best process for dealing with organic waste. Many studies show that the energy cost of upgrading biogas to bio-methane is insignificant and there are no regulatory barriers to injecting bio-methane into the natural gas grid.

The UK Gas Industry Trade Association, along with NGVA Europe (Natural Gas Vehicle Association) and REA (Renewable Energy Association) are lobbying for this renewable gas in order to get financial support from the government. They are claiming equivalent treatment for bio-methane as that accorded to «green» electricity, so that gas suppliers could offer «green» gas tariffs. John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services Ltd, supports this campaign, pointing out that bio-methane production offers solutions to many problems: waste recycling, reduction in global warming and reduction in fossil fuel imports.

To underline his point about the huge potential of bio-methane, John Baldwin quotes the experiences of Biogasmax partners such as Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and the French town of Lille, which has an Organic Waste Valorisation Centre supplying bio-methane to the city’s buses. At the Biogasmax Friends Day, held in Bern on January 30 2008, our partners were able to take on board the UK interest in our project, welcoming a young researcher from Exeter, Dr. Ulf Winkler, whose work deals with the assessment of best practice in managing urban transport.

On March 03, 2008, Cenex, in partnership with NGVA Europe (Natural Gas Vehicle Association) and Environmental Protection UK, hosted a one-day conference in London (Devonport House, Greenwich). Its purpose was to highlight the environmental virtuous circle of bio-methanisation, which offers both a solution to urban organic waste treatment and a possible answer to the obligation to increase the proportion of biofuel in global consumption.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Biofuels in the European Context: Facts and Uncertainties

The report "Biofuels in the European Context: Facts and Uncertainties" has been published on the Biofuels TP Secretariat web site ( ).

The European Biofuels Technology Platform (Biofuels TP) is EU funded and is to contribute to the development of sustainable, cost-competitive, world-class biofuels technologies, to the creation of a healthy biofuels industry and to accelerate the deployment of sustainable biofuels in the European Union through a process of guidance, prioritisation and promotion of research, development and demonstration.

The platform is now up and running and this is just one of 8 reports now available for downloading from their web site. This provides an interesting new resource for those of us that believe that there is a big future for biofuels from Anaerobic Digestion and wish to learn more. Most new Anaerobic Digestion plants built and planned fior the UK so far have concentrated on electricity production, and I feel that the biofuel capability of AD has hardly yet been properly explored.

After all, wind power, hydro, solar and wave power etc,. will never be able to produce transport fuels directly, and fuel production from methane avoids the power generation and transmission inefficiences inherent in electricity production.

Biofuel from food crops is becoming increasingly unpopular as it is seen as contributory to world food shortages and recent price rises.

This first report introduces its content as follows:-

"The report presents facts, findings and models regarding biofuels in a broad context. It points out the associated uncertainties. The document identifies scenarios which may evolve in either a predictable or non predictable way in the future but which in turn may considerably influence the debate. Finally, this report has identified open issues."

The report devotes only one small section to anaerobic digestion though.

"Making biogas itself saves GHG emissions because it avoids methane release from stored manure, but it is more economic to use biogas locally, to generate electricity and heat. This saves the cost of purification, distribution, compression, storage, and vehicle modifications."

I am not sure at all that "stored manure" produces biogas, perhaps an agricultural expert would email in and tell me...

However, this runs contrary to what a number of people have said to me recently.

I have been told that the additional cost of biofuel conversion equipment is beneficial for biogas plants because during the summer for example when it would be swutched on, there is no heating demand and CHP systems stand idle while biofuel conversion can be taking place on methane gas at a much higher overall efficiency, because the energy efficiency of running biogas power generation without a CHP load are acknowledged to be low.

As ever, your emailed comments are welcome, and we will publish good ones. However, for some obscure technical reason the comments sign-up page does not seem to be functioning on the blog though.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rising Demand for Biofuel 'will increase GHGs'

(25 March 2008)

Growing demand for biofuels could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions as farmers clear forests and grassland to create more cropland, according to a new US study.

Biofuels are not as environmentally-friendly as we think, the study claims

A team of researchers from Princeton University concluded land use change reduces the benefits of biofuels because it would release carbon sequestered by the land into the atmosphere.

Presenting the results of the study at Imperial College, London, Professor Tim Searchinger, one of the authors of the study, said increasing demand for food will put even greater pressures on farmers to convert land for agriculture.

He said: "There's already a carbon benefit being provided by land and previous analyses of the benefits of biofuels haven't taken that into account.

"Using cropland to produce biofuels will cause large increases in greenhouse gases from land use change."

According the team's calculations, biofuels produced from soybeans reduce emissions by 70% compared to regular fuel, but when land use change is factored in, this changes to a 50% increase in emissions.

The study - first published in Science magazine - calculated that it could take decades for biofuels to pay back their carbon debt if forests and grassland were converted to grow them or to grow the food crops displaced by biofuel crops.

Professor Searchinger recommended that national governments should stop setting mandatory levels of biofuel use, and should provide producers with incentives to get their biofuels from existing agricultural land.

It was vital to find new ways to increase crop yields to meet demand for both food and biofuels, he added.

He said: "We are going to need more agricultural expansion to feed everybody and we are going to need big yield increases to keep the impact down.

"We need a massive worldwide strategy to boost yields using existing agricultural land."

Kate Martin

More at Edie Net News. Biofuel demand 'will increase GHGs'

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Surprise UK Budget Subsidy Change Will Boost Biofuel from Biogas

There is an item about this in the Daily Telegraph:-

Which describes this biofuel subsidy removal as a negative, which it will be for the big petroleum companies, but for biogas producers it provides an additional incentive to further invest in the equipment to take their biogas and process it into biofuel (eg biodiesel).

All UK biogas producers should now consider biogas to biofuel investment. The reasons for this are explained in the following paragraphs which are provided using information provided by John Baldwin, MD of CNG Services Ltd at .

In essence, in Tuesday's Budget the Government has increased the RTFO buy-out price to 35 p/litre (from 15 p/litre) so customers pay for the shift to biofuels and not the Govt (in form of duty reduction). Yes, it is a stealth tax, but one that helps biomethane as biomethane still will have the same low fuel duty as it had previously.

If you run a vehicle on biomethane you will pay 13.7 p/kg duty, but you will now (as a result of this budget change) get back 35 p/kg. Before this budget you would have got back 15 p/kg. This means that you will now get paid 20 p/kg by the UK petroleum industry + Government.

How do you make biofuel from biogas? You clean biomethane up and compress it.

A small 400,000 kg clean up facility costing about £600k should provide a potential extra income of 80,000 pounds/annum from the RTFO credit (400,000 kg at 20 p/kg, and there will be no diesel to be paid for!).

Those with biogas should consider starting to clean some of it up fom now on, and running vehicles on it.

That way the biogas producer will get paid to save the planet.

Now that can’t be bad!

The vehicles are also already available to run on it, made by VW and MB. These are not conversions and still run on petrol.

We can’t see any downsides, and also some biogas operations will be able to run these vehicles on gas that would otherwise be flared!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Weekly Geek at Greenpeace Features Anaerobic Digestion

A Excerpt from the GreenPeace Blog:-

Ken Livingstone wants it for London, Hilary Benn is giving money to it and Adam and Debbie are bringing it to Ambridge. After a couple of millennia in the sidelines, anaerobic digestion has finally hit the big time (well, The Archers, anyway) - which is why we've chosen it for this second edition of the Weekly Geek.

Every year, we bury thousands of tonnes of waste food in landfill sites around the UK. We produce almost one and a half million tonnes of sewage a year (don't do the maths - it's disturbing), which is mostly spread on land, incinerated or buried as landfill. And we produce enormous amounts of agricultural waste on our farms. All of this waste breaks down to release greenhouse gases as it decomposes.

In all, about half of our total landfill comes from biodegradable waste, where it becomes part of the problem that contributes to climate change. Instead of sending it to landfill, anaerobic digestion allows us to convert this waste into ‘biogas', making it part of the solution.

Anaerobic digestion can help us to replace fossil fuels, reduce methane emissions from landfill sites and increase the efficiency of our energy system. As well as helping us to fight climate change, it can solve many of our waste management problems, reduce freshwater pollution from organic wastes, increase fuel security and reduce our dependence on chemical fertilisers.

The following is an animation from EfficienCity outlines showing how it works:

The organic matter used can be pretty much any biodegradable material: food waste from households, markets, shops, restaurants, caterers, breweries, distilleries, industrial kitchens and companies that process food and drink; abattoir waste; agricultural waste like manure, slurry, straw, feathers and crop residues; industrial waste and residues from, say, pharmaceutical processes or paper manufacturing; and sewage sludge.

More here ...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Scottish Councils to Trial Food Waste Collection Schemes

We thought that all AD and Biogas fans would be interested in this item as successful food waste collection would be likely to lead to enhanced implemetation of biogas schemes. The following is from Let's Recycle! News:-

The first of Remade Scotland's food waste trials will begin collections on 25 February, after being delayed last year by the change in Scottish government.

Remade Scotland are managing seven food waste collection trials, lasting one year, following in the footsteps of the Waste & Resources Action Programme's food waste trials in England and Wales (see story).

The aim of the trials is to promote better understanding of the effectiveness and economics of different food waste collection systems.

Four of the Scottish trials will focus on collecting food waste only (in Aberdeenshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde) and three of the trials (in Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and Perth and Kinross) will add to existing infrastructure, collecting food waste with the garden waste.

Aberdeenshire: While the majority of the participating councils are due to start trials in March and April, Aberdeenshire will begin its trials in February with 5,000 households in Aberchirder, Banff, Macduff, Whitehills involved in the weekly collections.

All residents will receive a 20 litre bin in addition to a five litre kitchen caddy. Residents will also be provided with a free supply of compostable liners, manufactured by Biobag which come in rolls of six.

The waste will be collected in 7.5 tonne capacity trucks manufactured by Farid and taken to Gray's in-vessel composting facility where it will be composted and used as agricultural fertiliser in the local area.

In preparation for the trials in Aberdeenshire, surveyed 450 households to get an insight into the attitude towards to the forthcoming trials.

David Gunn, assistant campaign manager at Scottish Waste Awareness Group said: "For each of the participating councils, we will do pre-trial and post trial surveys and when all the trials are rolled out we will be collate and analyse the information and submit it to the Scottish Government. We hope to have the report from the pre-trial surveys collaged by the Summer."

All data from the Scottish trials will feed into the data for the UK-wide trials.

Two of the participating local authorities will send their waste to TEG Environmental Plc and four will send their waste to Scottish water's Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling Facility - pending award of Pollution Prevention Control Permit being issued by SEPA. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

BERR Listens To Renewables Obligation Waste Concerns

BERR has published the Government’s response to the consultation on the reform of the Renewables Obligation, which took place during summer 2007. In its response the Government has recognised many of the concerns raised by ESA during the consultation period.

The regulations for the measurement and sampling of biomass have been proven to be ill suited to the heterogeneity of mixed waste fuels. Consequently waste-fired power plants have been unable to satisfy Ofgem with sufficient certainty as to the biomass content of their inputs and therefore been unable to claim ROCs for their renewable generation. BERR had already conceded the principle of deeming the biomass content of waste but had previously suggested that this should be set at the conservative level of 35%. In response to ESA lobbying, the Government has now decided initially to raise the proposed deemed level to 50%, in line with the level recognised under the climate change levy.

BERR has also noted the difficulties that changes to the qualifying index for good quality combined heat and power (CHP) made to the ROC eligibility of waste-fired CHP facilities. The Government has consequently decided to change the qualifying criterion for such plants, which will now be based on a single efficiency threshold of 35% gross calorific value.

Other changes made by the Government include a commitment to the principle of grandfathering support levels for renewable electricity projects. More at ESA UK.

Possible European Biowaste and Biogas Directives to Boost Anaerobic Digestion

The European Parliament Agriculture Committee has proposed the development of an EU directive on biogas production, suggesting that there may be benefit in a joint biogas and biowaste directive.

The Committee published a draft report on 29 November 2007 arguing that such a directive should include:

• specific targets for the agricultural biogas share within the target for renewable energy production
• measures for the construction and promotion of biogas installations
• adoption of national and regional planning measures to reduce legal and administrative barriers to biogas installations
• introduction of incentives to invest in biogas plants.

The draft report urges the European Commission to present as soon as possible a proposal for a biowaste directive, including quality standards, and “invites the Commission to explore the possibility for a joint biogas and biowaste directive”.

In response, the Parliament’s Environment and Industry Committees have both made suggestions which they would like included in the Agriculture Committee’s “motion for a resolution”, including calling on the Commission to present as soon as possible a proposal for a biowaste directive. More ...

We think that everyone in the AD Community will be in favour of this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Zero Waste is the New Target for Scotland


The Environment Secretary for Scotland has announced ambitious new plans for waste management in Scotland.

New targets of 60 percent recycling by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025 have been proposed, no more than 25 percent of waste is to be used to generate energy, while municipal waste being sent to landfill is to be reduced to 5 percent by 2025.

See view: This is going to be tough to achieve, and if 25% will be used for energy there is huge scope for Anaerobic Digestion (biogas Digesters) in Scotland, and a lot of them!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

US EPA Reports Steadily Rising Growth in Anaerobic Digestion in US

The following is an extract from the Agstar report published in November 2007:-

Construction of anaerobic digestion systems for livestock manure stabilization
and energy production has accelerated substantialy in the past several years.

The EPA estimates that there are currently about 111 digesters operating at commercial livestock facilities in the United States.

In 2007, farm digester systems produced an estimated 215 million kilowatt
hours equivalent of useable energy.

Besides generating electricity (170 million kWh), some operations use the gas as a boiler fuel, some upgrade the gas for injection
into the natural gas pipeline, and some flare gas for odor control.

Many of the projects that generate electricity also capture waste heat
for various on‐farm thermal uses.

The majority of commercially operating systems (Figure 2) are plug flow
and complete mix reactors (both tanks and covered lagoons) operating
at mesophilic temperatures
(95° ‐ 105°F).

The remainder of the systems include covered lagoons operating at a
mbient temperature, and attached growth and induced blanket reactors.

European‐style complete mix systems are also emerging in the U.S. market.

Although the majority of systems are still farm owned and operated,
using only livestock manure, other approaches are emerging.

These include the commingling of high strength organic wastes
(e.g., food waste, ag waste, cheese whey) to increase gas
production per unit volume of reactor; third party owned/operated
systems; centralized systems handling manure from multiple farms;
and direct gas sales to customers or gas utilities.

Most digester systems (80 percent) currently are found in the dairy industry in the Midwest, West, and Northeast. More here..