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 letsrecycle.com 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 letsrecycle.com 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.