Monday, December 28, 2009

Mechanical Biological Treatment Process with AD Explained

The New Civil Engineer magazine has published (19 November edition 2009) a refreshingly down to earth description of the process which will soon start to mechanically and biologically treat a part of Manchester’s residual (black bag) Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The following was stated by Peter Harvey in his role as the Business Director of Enpure (Process Engineering). Enpure is the encumbent EPC Contractor, in the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority’s huge city-wide PFI waste management contract.

This multi-billion contract was finally let around about last Easter after extended delays, and not least the problems caused by the credit crunch last Autumn. Under this Contract, Enpure is the EPC Contractor which will provide processing facilities for the PPP Consortium Laing Viridor to operate two MBT Facilities to be built at Reliance Street and Bredbury, under a £57 million Contract.

(In MBT there is always a choice to be made between composting to reduce the activity of the organic material before it goes to landfill, which is of dubious merit, or Anaerobic Digestion which does a better job but requires more investment and some risk of not repaying that investment. - Added by your Blogmaster)

"There are a number of ways that you can biologically treat that [smaller fraction], composting for example, or anaerobic digestion which can then create methane for electricity production. That particular approach [anaerobic digestion] is what we have on our two MBT projects," says Peter Harvey.

The process begins at the materials recovery facility (MRF) whereby black bag [mixed residual] waste (MSW) goes through a very coarse shredder that reduces waste to 250mm to 300mm pieces. At that point the waste is screened and material of less than 80mm (the organic fraction) goes off for anaerobic digestion.

But first it needs further separation. "If we didn't clean it up then grit, pieces of plastic and bits of rubble could cause blockages so we have a very sophisticated wet separation process called the hydro-pulper".

It is this pulper which has not been used before in the UK. It comes from German firm BTA International. "It is a vessel with a high speed impeller in the centre that will transfer any organic material, paper, cardboard, food and organic matter into a sludge, which we can then pass through a screen and into the digesters," says Phil Harvey.

Just under 5MW of electricity will be generated by the Reliance Street and Bredbury facilities to fuel the MBT process and feed back into the grid. "Between these two facilities there is enough to power 10,000 homes from the biogas alone.

As for the larger components, these are sorted for recycling in the case of metals and plastics, or for sending on as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) to Runcorn [for incineration].

The fraction above 80mm is then put through a density separation process so that we can eliminate any hardcore material from that size fraction.

Then there is metals removal. After this it is shredded to 30mm ready for RDF production.

We also have an air knife which blows off plastics into the RDF as well.

At Reliance Street the treatment process will handle 100,000t of waste per annum, but only 63,000t of this will go through the MBT plant. The rest, larger particles over 45mm, is sorted out and sent off for recycling.

"The only real difference between the two sites is the degree of sorting that happens before the wet preparation stage," says Peter Harvey.

Of course with plants handling so much waste material and especially the Anaerobic Digestion present, there has clearly and quite understandably been much concern about odours.

Because Reliance Street is right in the city it uses a sophisticated odour control process called regenerative thermal oxidation. The odour is collected via ducts and blown into the treatment system which uses heat in the presence of a catalyst to thermally oxidise the odorous compounds in the air. The heat from the treated air is captured using silicon tiles.

"Bredbury has a more conventional odour system, we operate the buildings under negative pressure so that if there are any leaks they go into the building rather than out and all that air is treated with biofilters," says Peter Harvey.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Exciting Opportunities Arising from UK Government Low Carbon Strategy

The following is an extract from the Enviros Consulting September 2009 Briefing Note on the UK's Low Carbon Strategy:

The UK government has announced a number of financial drivers and measures to remove barriers to deployment of more renewables, as part of their low carbon strategy.

This rapidly growing industry will bring opportunities for many of our customers. Nonfinancial measures include a new planning PPS, measures to improve grid access and a new Office for Renewable Energy Deployment.

However the main drivers announced are the financial ones outlined below.

The Renewables Heat Incentive

- The Renewables Heat Incentive will deliver a staggering 72TWh/yr of heat by 2020 from biomass, solar, heat pumps and biomethane
- The policy to be in place from April 2011
- It will give guaranteed payments to those generating heat from renewables – domestic through to industrial scales
- We should expect a fixed rate paid on energy yield and cost of plant – not on CO2 emissions saved

UK Government will consult at the end of this year on scheme details and on fundamentals including levels of funding and how the levy to fund it will work

Installations from 15 July 2009 onwards will qualify for payments though there will be environmental standards and a qualification scheme for installers.

Measures to support electricity from renewables

The plans for financial support for renewable electricity has been presented in a separate consultation paper

Renewable Electricity Financial Incentives.

There are some detailed changes to the Renewables Obligation (ROC) regime that will impact larger generators and are designed to bolster confidence in this support mechanism.

However, perhaps the most significant announcement is of a new mechanism known as Feed in Tariffs (FIT).

As presented in the consultation paper FITs:

• Will give significant payments to small scale renewables – up to 5MW but with much higher payments for micro-renewables
• Will come into operation from April 2010 with consultation closing Oct 09 (though schemes built from 15 July 2009 will qualify)
• Will support delivery of up to 2% of our electricity by 2020
• Will pay the tariff for every unit of generation (whether used on site or not) aiming to give investors 5-8% internal rate of return (IRR)
• A FIT contract would be for 20 years, index linked and transferable from person to person
• Fix the price that will be paid for power exported at reasonable level (5p/kWh suggested)
• Will be paid by those supplying the site with electricity to the site of generation.

Payments proposed are much higher than anything seen in the UK so far.

For example a householder installing a retrofit domestic scale solar panel would get 36.5p/kWh for all the generation from the panel, would enjoy free electricity from it while using it and would get a suggested 5p/kWh for electricity exported (income tax free).

Other Opportunities

The Low Carbon Transport Strategy and the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy will give other opportunities to those sectors of the industry.

The transport strategy proposes that the proportion of biofuels being blended with petrol and diesel be increased to 10% by 2020 in line with the EU directive.

This is a huge increase in the amount of liquid biofuels required and could offer opportunities for farmers.

However, it is recognised that there are potentially negative food security and environmental issues associated with this policy and we can expect increasingly stringent controls on sourcing of liquid biofuels.

The transport strategy also outlines measures to reduce transport emissions by:

• Improving the efficiency of new vehicles (cars, vans and buses)
• Electrifying more of the rail network
• Facilitating the use of electric vehicles – including the offer of financial support to purchase them
• Encouraging more walking, cycling and low carbon travel habits • Working on international agreements on shipping and aviation.

The Low Carbon Industrial Strategy recognises the opportunities for UK industry and commerce. To maximise the opportunities, the government intends to remove barriers to making the changes and has announced £405 million of support:

• £120 million will be used to develop offshore wind
• £60 million to develop wave and tidal power
• £6 million to contract “60 or more” low carbon affordable homes
• £10 million increase, from £20 million to £30 million, for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and £25 million Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme • £4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service
• £12 million for green chemicals/sustainable biotechnology
• £15 million nuclear advanced manufacturing research centre
• £150 million for UK Innovation Investment Fund -> £1billion in 10 years.

How Enviros can help

This is an exciting time for initiatives in the low carbon sector and with these recent papers, the Government’s direction and support is now clear.

With the ‘step change’ represented by these papers some projects that were not previously viable now may well be. Enviros have over 30 years of experience in this field so have the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to be able to support you as you work to make the ‘low carbon transition’ needed or capitalise on the opportunities presented, whether you are working in the public or the private sector.

Get your FREE copy of the full Low Carbon Strategy briefing document here.

Scottish Government and Scottish Renewables Calls for UK Treasury to Release Millions to Invest in Renewable Energy

Support for access to renewables cash grows

Scottish Renewables have joined the Scottish Government in calling for the UK Treasury to release up to £174 million to invest in renewable energy.

The money is currently held by Ofgem under the Fossil Fuel Levy arrangements, which mean the Scottish Government is unable to access the cash without a corresponding reduction in its budget.

Finance Secretary John Swinney has argued for the fund to be made available as additional money over and above the Scottish budget since this administration came to office in 2007.

And today the cause will gain the support of Scottish Renewables, when Niall Stuart, chief executive of the green energy trade body, addresses a marine energy conference in Inverness.

Mr Swinney said:

"This is £174 million of Scotland's money that should be invested in developing renewable energy in Scotland right now.

"Instead, the unwillingness of the UK Treasury to change its position means it is sitting unused in an Ofgem bank account in London. Scottish Renewables are absolutely right to be calling on the Chancellor to release this money so that it is additional to the budget already at our disposal.

"I welcome their position and can assure them we speak as one on this issue. It simply makes no sense that, at a time when the parlous state of the UK's public finances is well documented, and when Scotland is facing a 500 million pounds cut in its budget next year, this money is withheld and only available if we accept a corresponding reduction in Scotland's budget.

"Scotland has a flourishing renewable energy sector that could benefit hugely from this additional money.

"This Government is doing all it can to help - but with access to this funding we could do even more. That would not only bring the clear benefits of developing cutting edge renewable technologies, but would also support green jobs and help stimulate a strong economic recovery."

The Fossil Fuel Levy (FFL) is used to compensate power companies for the higher costs involved in meeting the terms of contracts to purchase renewable electricity, awarded during the 1990s under the previous support mechanism, the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO).

Changes introduced in 2005, which allowed the proceeds from the sale of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) attributable to Scottish NFFO contracts to be used to meet the FFL costs have led to the development of a rapidly accumulating surplus in Ofgem's bank accounts (the Scotland and England/Wales accounts being held separately).

Scottish Ministers and officials have raised this matter with UK Government counterparts on a continuous basis since May 2007. Treasury rules on Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) mean that FFL surplus resources, if released to Scotland, would not be additional to Scotland's block grant. To enable FFL funds to be used for additional activity in Scotland would require the Treasury's agreement to increase Scottish DEL equivalent to the amount being drawn down from the FFL. The Treasury remains adamant that should Scottish Ministers choose to draw down this money, a corresponding reduction would be made in the Scottish block grant.

Full articles at the Scottish Government web site.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Waste Produces Gas for Cooking in Kenya Using Anaerobic Digestion

This item shows how anaerobic digestion can be such a power for good. It brightened my day and I hope it does the same for yours as well. It explains how biogas is being used to solve a number of problems simultaneously in Kenyan slums.

Harnessing Waste Produces Gas for Cooking in Kenya
By Cathy Majtenyi
From Voice of America News - 07 November 2009

The scourge of so-called "flying toilets" - where human waste is put into a plastic bag and tossed into the air, landing on roads or in gutters - has plagued the slums of Kenya's capital Nairobi for decades. But an innovative project in the slum of Kibera has dramatically cut down on the problem by converting human waste into gas that can be used to fuel cookers and other devices.

Roseline Amondi is cooking up a storm. Today's menu for the tiny restaurant she runs is githeri, a traditional dish consisting of beans and maize.

Amondi cooks every day in this community kitchen. She will then take the food back to her kiosk to sell to her customers. She says the community stove saves her a lot of money that she would otherwise spend on charcoal or wood.

"Before the gas started working, I was using almost 100 or 200 [shillings] per day for cooking any meal in the house, but right now, it is only 10 bob [shillings] per meal," she said. "It is very cheap. If I cook two different types of food, I may use only 30 shillings for the whole day. That is wonderful."

The gas that Amondi uses comes from an unlikely source, the community toilet. This is a rare sight in Kibera, where up to 200 people can share a single latrine in neighborhoods that have no electricity or running water.

The toilet and kitchen are run by a coalition of five community groups calling themselves TOSHA (Total Sanitation and Hygiene Access). "Tosha" also means "enough" in the national language Ki'Swahili.

Some 600 people a day use the toilets for a small fee.

The human waste is transported via pipes into an underground tank, where it is converted into bio-gas.

The gas is then piped up to the community kitchen, where members can use the stove for pennies per pot.

Groups often rent out the facility's top floor for meetings and functions. TOSHA earns some $400 each month renting out the facility, the community kitchen and use of the toilets.

Aidah Binale is a coordinator with Umande Trust, a development group that partnered with TOSHA to formulate the project.

She says it was difficult at first for community members to accept the gas.

"People will have the idea of, 'Ah, no, I can't cook from there, it is from [human] waste.' Right now we are still trying to capacity build, we are trying to tell them [there is] nothing wrong," she explained. "We get to have more visitors from different countries coming to visit us. We make sure that when they come to the office, we tell them, 'Let's go down there and have tea.' So when the community comes and sees us drinking tea, they are thinking, 'Ah, this is a foreigner taking tea. These people are taking tea, we can also cook.'"

Running water and sanitation facilities are virtually non-existent in slums like Kibera, where most people earn less than $1 a day. Human waste in plastic bags is often dumped on roads, alleys and gutters.

But locals say there has been a dramatic reduction in these so-called "flying toilets" since the bio-gas center was constructed two years ago.

Roseline Amondi is also secretary of TOSHA.

"At the time we were using flying toilets, there were so many diseases around us like cholera," she noted. "Once an outbreak of cholera occurs, we are the sufferer. Many of us died, some got into the hospitals. But right now, for the last three months, there was an outbreak [of cholera] within Nairobi, but we were safe because of the bio-center."

Project supporters say the TOSHA Bio-Gas Centre is a model for communities everywhere, especially those dealing with power shortages.

Paul Muchire, communication manager with Umande Trust.

"We have the problem of [supplying enough] energy. Poverty levels are going up. Sanitation is a problem in the developing world. We have the issue of pollution from the oil and diesel. There is need to go into other sources of energy, adapt other sources of energy that would be environmentally friendly," he said.

Muchire says there are about 10 bio-gas centers in Kibera under construction and that an engineer is looking at how the gas can be piped into peoples' homes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anaerobic Digestion Has Big Role in Zero Waste Britain Announcement

The path to Britain becoming a zero waste nation was announced last week by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn at a summit of Local Authorities and the waste industry.

Hilary Benn said:

"We need to rethink how we view and treat waste in the UK. Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to landfill when we can turn them into new cans and renewable energy? Why use more resources than we need to in manufacturing? We must now work together to build a zero waste nation - where we reduce the resources we use, reuse and recycle all that we can and only landfill things that have absolutely no other use.

"To do this all of us - government, local authorities, businesses and consumers - must do our bit. And we must make this moment the turning point on our journey to eliminate wasteful waste.”

During a morning visit to Earls Court, Mr Benn showed his support for an updated BSI sustainable event standard which is designed to ensure that the events industry considers the social, economic and environmental impacts of their events.

Mr Benn continued:

"Using new technologies will help us to re-use things, for example anaerobic digestion that creates energy from food and farm waste. And businesses can apply the technology at their fingertips to design innovative products that use less resources or contain recycled materials.

"In ten years time 75 per cent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase even further. Aiming for zero waste is the way we have to think to get us to where we need to be."

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham added:

"If we continue to send recyclable or compostable waste to landfill we are missing a major opportunity to generate heat and energy and missing an opportunity to turn that waste into money. We can save planet whilst keeping money in resident’s pockets.

“I have recently set out ambitions for councils to play a bigger role in tackling climate change and thinking more creatively about waste is just one way to unlock that potential.”

Setting out how the UK can become a zero waste nation where people can do the right thing with their waste whether at work, home or on the move, Mr Benn said:

* England should more than halve the amount of waste going to landfill in the next 10 years – early next year we will consult on what recyclable and compostable items should be banned from landfill and how a ban will work.
* In ten years time 75 per cent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase even further.
* Six new Zero Waste Places in parts of Shropshire, Dorchester, Brixton, Newham, Hoxton and Suffolk will be created to develop innovative ideas to cut waste in the home, workplace and community.
* A new Zero Waste Places Standard for Local Authorities will also recognise areas which are going above and beyond national waste targets while supporting them with small grants for further development.
* New research out today shows it is possible to divert 500,000 tonnes of household waste per year through re-using it.
* Later this month a new public campaign will be launched, aimed at encouraging people to rethink their approach to waste by reducing and reusing the waste they create as well continuing to recycle as much as they can.
* The Government expects Local Authorities to offer a full collection service for all recyclable items by 2020. This should include paper, card, cans, glass and plastic bottles, food and packaging. We will encourage Local Authorities in collecting food waste to make use of the technology and funding available to them to harness the power of energy from waste.
* Publication of our aims and actions for Commercial and Industrial Waste in England. This will help businesses to use resources more efficiently and encourage them to think about what they do with their waste as well as delivering benefits for the environment. Actions cover four areas: helping business; working with the waste management industry; plugging the data gap; and encouraging innovative approaches.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Food Waste Recycling Company PDM Group Announces Council Talks

Food waste recycling company PDM Group has revealed that it is in talks with "a lot" of councils about the treatment of separately-collected food waste as it looks to secure the feedstock for its network of planned and existing biomass and anaerobic digestion facilities.

Speaking to last week (September 17), the company's commercial team manager, Suzanne McDermott, said that its current priority was making councils, food retailers and food producers aware of the energy potential of food waste.

The calorific value of food waste means it's absolutely perfect for producing energy

Suzanne McDermott, of PDM said:

"The calorific value of food waste means it's absolutely perfect for producing energy," she said, explaining that "we're telling local authorities, commercial food companies etc. that its worthwhile getting it source-segregated to get that energy out of it."

She added that PDM was now talking to "a lot of councils", noting that some local authorities were currently composting a "small proportion" of food waste alongside green waste.

However, Ms McDermott acknowledged that there would be a "cost implication" for councils that did decide to introduce source-segregated collections of food waste.

PDM has traditionally drawn the majority of its customer base from the commercial food and catering sectors, and in January 2009 it signed a 'long-term' contract to deal with all Sainsbury's food waste (see story).

Energy Generation

Earlier this year, the Doncaster-based company also revealed that it had plans to invest £110 million in the energy generation side of its activities, including building a number of anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities (see story).

In June 2009, it set up a joint venture, known as ReFood UK, with German AD specialists SARIA Bio-Industries to establish the facilities, the first of which is expected to be up-and-running in Doncaster early next year.

Ms McDermott explained that "we have gone with the German model because it's solely for treating food waste," and added that "what's already in the UK is working well but it's mainly for agricultural purposes".

Outlining the company's exact plans with regards AD, she said that it aimed to develop "a further six AD plants over the next five years which map us out across the country", with each facility offering the capacity to treat up to 45,000 tonnes of food waste a year, producing 2MW of electricity.

PDM also has two biomass waste-to-energy facilities - in Widnes and Rushden - which use fluidised bed combined heat and power technology to treat meat industry residues, and a network of rendering facilities, and Ms McDermott explained that "whatever's closest becomes the first port of call" as the company looked to reduce the carbon impact of treating the waste.

With regards the outputs from the ReFood AD process, she acknowledged that "sometimes farmers might not want it, so the alternative is to put it straight into the CHP," explaining that "we always have to have a back-up, we have always got the alternative - we can send it to our rendering or energy plants."

PDM is currently in talks with farmers located near to the Doncaster site about using the digestate produced by the AD process, and the company has previously said that it will look to gain the PAS110 standard for the digestate when the facility is up-and-running

Monsal Obtains Planning Permission for their Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant in March

This follows up on our recent post about Monsal to bring you an update from them, when planning permission is obtained in very quickly time.

Monsal in commenting on the success of the planning process said:

“Planning was achieved in record time for this project. It was the result of our co-operative and very detailed approach to the planning/permitting process. We support biowaste AD projects from concept through financial close and subsequent delivery having the largest specialist team in the UK in this area. We operated as an integrated team working with Local Generation and the regulatory authorities to ensure the project and technology complies with all relevant environmental standards. This avoided abortive work and ensures that the overall solution can be fast tracked into the construction phase with a guaranteed delivery cost.”

The biowaste to energy concept is now being widely applied for the conversion of commercial and household food waste to biogas. The Monsal technology platform is well established and has been operational on large food waste and household kitchen waste treatment and recycling plants for over 10 years in other countries in Europe.

Aidan Cumiskey Monsal’s Managing Director said:

“This is a great result for Local Generation and Cambridgeshire. Lifecrown are a forward thinking group and the plant will neatly integrate local biowaste recycling with on site renewable energy production and create additional employment in the Cambridgeshire/Peterborough area. Based on our latest technology the plant can treat a large variety of biowaste streams including kitchen and household food waste and convert them to renewable energy. This is our first major success with the food sector and we expect continued uptake as a “greening” of the UK food industry supply chain takes place in the coming years.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

AD Contractor Monsal Announces Food Waste Plant for Cambridgeshire, UK

The specialist UK Anaerobic Digestion Plant Contractor Monsal has now completed the planning phase for new food waste anaerobic digestion and renewable energy plant in Cambridgeshire.

Monsal have now completed the first phase of planning, pre-design, permitting and support services for an advanced food Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and renewable energy contract in March, Cambridgeshire. The project is for Local Generation Limited, a subsidiary of Lifecrown Investments Limited and will be located on land owned by Lifecrown and adjacent to Local Generations sister company Fenmarc Produce, a leading vegetable food packager and processor. Monsal expects to deliver the turnkey AD contract once permits are in place in late 2009 and the project will progress into the construction phase in early 2010.

Food waste from a range of food businesses and some potato waste from Fenmarc will be processed and recycled by the latest Monsal technology to provide a high grade compost and generate renewable energy from biogas. This will divert food waste from landfill and lower emissions of harmful greenhouse gases in the process.

The plant is expected to produce up to 2.5MW of electricity and heat from a combination of potato waste produced at the Fenmarc site and other locally sourced food waste, which currently goes to landfill. Local Generation intends to sell both the power and heat to local homes and businesses, including Fenmarc. In addition to these outputs, the plant will produce up to 12,000 tonnes a year of high quality soil conditioner suitable for improving local Fenland soils. The plant will create some 10 to 15 new jobs once operational and is the largest plant planned in the region.

The project will generate sufficient electricity to supply 1,500 homes, or approximately 6% of the total demand for March, including that from industry and commerce. By so doing Local Generation will help Fenland play a big part in meeting the UK target of 10% of power generated from renewable sources by 2010 and the EU target of 20% of all energy from renewables by 2020. A modern plant such as this can capture over 80% of the energy content of its fuel.

Mark Harrod, Chairman of Lifecrown said:

“The success of our group companies in Fenland for 40 years has been founded on the strategic location and the skills and work ethic of the local workforce. In making this further substantial investment I am confident that these factors will, once again, get us off to a flying start. This project addresses two of today’s most pressing problems; climate change and food waste management. By treating energy as a precious resource we can maximise value for all concerned.”

Monsal offer a complete turnkey service from consultation, planning, design, permitting with subsequent technology delivery once planning permission and permits are in place.

On receipt of planning approval for the March plant on 17th September, Local Generation director Nick Waterman said “We are delighted that Local Generation Limited has today been granted planning permission for its AD plant at Westry, March.

We are very excited at the prospect of contributing positively to the environment by reducing waste to landfill and lowering emissions of harmful greenhouse gases in the process. The UK Government wants businesses like ours to invest and create new jobs in green technologies as well as deliver sustainable solutions and that is exactly what we are going to do.

This is a great day for Local Generation and our team is looking forward to building the plant. We hope that people in March, Fenland and Cambridgeshire will be very proud to have one of the first AD plants in the UK operating in the region.”

Aidan Cumiskey Monsal’s Managing Director said:

“This is a great result for Local Generation and Cambridgeshire. Lifecrown are a forward thinking group and the plant will neatly integrate local biowaste recycling with on site renewable energy production and create additional employment in the Cambridgeshire/Peterborough area. Based on our latest technology the plant can treat a large variety of biowaste streams including kitchen and household food waste and convert them to renewable energy. This is our first major success with the food sector and we expect continued uptake as a “greening” of the UK food industry supply chain takes place in the coming years.”

Commenting on the success of the planning process:

“Planning was achieved in record time for this project. It was the result of our co-operative and very detailed approach to the planning/permitting process. We support biowaste AD projects from concept through financial close and subsequent delivery having the largest specialist team in the UK in this area. We operated as an integrated team working with Local Generation and the regulatory authorities to ensure the project and technology complies with all relevant environmental standards. This avoided abortive work and ensures that the overall solution can be fast tracked into the construction phase with a guaranteed delivery cost.”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maximising the Value of Sewage Sludge Biogas - Study Reports

The September 2009 edition of the Newsletter of UK Water Industry Research Limited, leads by reporting on their study into "Maximising the Value of Biogas". We thought that it contains some really interesting pointers to those involved in planning and running Anaerobic Digestion facilities, so we report on it in this posting.

Biogas has for some time been employed by the UK Water industry as a source of energy for combined heat and power plants.

The employment of biogas becomes more attractive as advances in technologies for biogas production, treatment and application, mixed with new financial inducements for various kinds of renewable energy progress. Optimisation of biogas production and use will also bring ecological benefits, including helping the water industry mitigate its global warming impacts.

The UKWIR project Maximising the value of Biogas, managed by Gordon Wheale, gives a clear appraisal of the technologies and the expenses concerned in maximising the earning potential of biogas produced from the digestion of sewage sludge.

It inspects the advantages stemming from biogas optimisation and possible 'regulatory blockers'.

At an UKWIR project dissemination workshop, representatives heard from James Newton of the contractor, Mott MacDonald, the technology needed for conversion of biogas to biomethane is well established and commercially available.

Conversion of biogas to biomethane makes accessable all of the applications of natural gas including injection into the nation's gas grid or use as an automobile fuel.

Such uses are well established in mainland Europe and a number of states around the world. While technically possible, there are not many examples of sewage biogas being converted to hydrogen ( for combustion or use in fuel cells ) as these are typically extremely expensive both in term of capital and operational costs.

With new developments in hydrogen technology, this will (they expect) become an enticing option in the future.


This research discovered that the use of biogas for CHP generation for on-site use would, usually, achieve the best worth for a water company. CHP is a mature technology with proved commercial benefits and the best systems can convert up to forty percent of the energy contained in biogas into electricity.

The utilization of biogas as a fuel for autos also achieves a comparatively high worth and, in some circumstances, higher than that achieved for biogas CHP. It also brings ecological benefits compared to standard fossil auto fuels.

Sensitivity of the values that can be derived for different biogas uses is found to be extremely variable arising from only minor changes in guesses. They found that in particular, the values of the renewable energy drivers available ( which in a few cases are still to be established by secondary regulation ) and the impact of the 'Carbon Reduction Commitment' gave big changes in value.

Also they are sensitive to site explicit factors. These include the supply of biogas for other uses, the leftover cost of existing investments in CHP assets and the distance to the local gas grid. So a site explicit survey should be carried out when thinking about alternative biogas applications.

The research for this report reveals that different biogas uses can have broadly similar values. Therefore , for many sites, optimizing biogas production may achieve larger financial and environmental advantages than changing the output use."

For further information get the September Edition of their Newsletter by using the link below:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Through Anaerobic Digestion Sewage Sludge Becomes Energy Provider not an Energy User

In an energy dependent world, sludge should be an energy provider not an energy user. Keith Panter of Ebcor argues in favour of projects where energy cost/benefit rather than disposal becomes the major project driver. He also promotes the raised AD conversion rates achieved by what he and Cambi describe as "advanced digestion with thermal hydrolysis".

The following article is based upon an article in Water and Wastewater Treatment August 2009 edition. In that article Keith Panter has highlighted the need for homespun energy as the UK finally passes from the age of UK energy sufficiency into dependency upon supplies from overseas, and not only that but dependency on supplies from nations which have been politically unstable in quite recent times.

He highlights the welcome fact that following a recent review of energy policy, Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) has decided to reduce its reliance on energy intensive thermal drying of raw sludge at three Wastewater Treatment Plants in South Wales in favour of anaerobic digestion (AD) and power generation at Cardiff and Afan.

The energy these AD plants will generate is high compared with farm waste type AD plants, and the aim is to generate 5MW of green power by March 2011 to grandfather the value of the Renewable Obligation Order Credits (ROCs). Apparently a technical and commercial review of pre-treatment technologies for AD has led to the selection of Cambi as the THP provider. The operator is Kelda who and they were consulted as part of the decision.

What I find remarkable is that he informs us that when complete, eight Cambi plants in total then operating in the UK and Ireland will be treating sludge from the equivalent of a 6M population. That’s almost a tenth of the United Kingdom population!

So, it reinforces me in the view that already in a short period of 5 years since I started to write about Anaerobic Digestion in my web site, Anaerobic digestion has progressed from a novelty seen as largely just a sludge treatment and farm waste disposal process, to a main stream renewable energy producer.

Of course, it has been the rapid development of economic driving forces (drivers) which have moved the agenda forward at such a pace, and in recent years government incentives such as ROCs that have given the final push to propel AD into the limelight.

Back in March 1999, the Economist magazine (UK, London) predicted that energy prices would remain stable for the foreseeable future. How wrong could they have been?

Water treatment professionals got closer to reality, Keith says, when in a straw poll at the 1999 European Biosolids conference they were asked what they thought, and predicted a doubling of energy prices within ten years.

In reality the wholesale price of natural gas that was about £6/MWh at that time rose to over £20/MWh in the time period.

Ebcor has clearly for 10 years and longer, been looking in depth at the process cost model for sludge drying. He also evidently demonstrated at that same conference 10 years ago that investment in raw sludge drying would be misplaced if the price of energy even only doubled.

He explains that it takes about 1 MWh of energy to evaporate 1 tonne of water - so in general at that high an energy cost it is much cheaper to haul water in un-dried sludge cake than to evaporate it in a dryer.

The same model has apparently shown that the magnitude of the carbon footprint is more or less related to process cost as most sludge process costs are primarily energy related. Ebcor concluded at the time that advanced digestion (such as using the Cambi process with thermal hydrolysis) would give the best whole life cost and the most flexibility and would safeguard utilities from future energy price hikes.

The non financial justification of raw sludge drying is the flexibility offered by producing a potential fuel. Keith points out that this surely applies if markets do not exist for biosolids products but in reality these markets have remained stable and in some cases improved as biosolids quality has improved.

The UK safe sludge matrix was developed about the same time and has been a big help in securing biosolids' place in agriculture.

So, there it is. Yet another Anaerobic Digestion expert is in effect demonstrating very clearly that the day for AD has arrived. Are you using Anaerobic Digestion, or still drying WWTW sludge?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Selecting and Specifying Tanks for Anaerobic Digesters

OK, this is not the most riveting subject to most of us! The reason for blogging about this is that our web site now has a page devoted to nothing but tanks for anaerobic digesters and biogas plants and includes a new detailed list of UK tank suppliers.

Tanks are available in several different sizes and materials being engineered and designed to be used inside anaerobic digesters and provide long life and leak free containment at digester operating temperatures and pressures.

Tanks that are intended for anaerobic digestion and feed storage are available formed from a wide selection of materials which are selected based primarily on properties of chemical resistance, strength, design life, erection speed and cost. The low initial cost option for the budget digester tank is typically said to be the sectional steel glass or epoxy coated circular steel type tank ( which also should include a zinc coating to the steel, before application of the glass ) seen generally in use as rural/farm digesters.

Digester plant designers do well to note that those that have been coming up with digesters for a long while for sewage sludge infrequently use steel tanks of any type, preferring instead the improved sturdiness and corrosion resistance of a well designed concrete tank.

Concrete also holds the extra benefit of being a good insulator reducing the necessity for insulation in cool climates.

For thermophilic digesters the tank insulation wants should be considered from an initial stage of tank design and selection. Polyethylene ( PE ), a light, chemically-resistant thermoplastic, and GRP ( Glass Reinforced Plastic ) and steel, are the most ordinarily used materials in digester plant subordinate tank applications.

All storage tanks should be supplied with overflow pipes of satisfactory capacity to safely carry off the best quantity of water sure to be discharged by the supply pipe in the event a malfunction of the pump control system fails to stop overfilling.

It is frequently suggested that it is a safe rule to make allowance for the overflow pipe 2 times the diameter or 4 times the sectional area of the supply pipe. Consideration must also be given during design and tank selection to the wants for bunding to reduce the chance of spillage to an acceptable level in the event of tank wall of base failure.

The wants for bunding are stated in the laws administered by the environmental regulator in each location ( Environment Agency in Britain and Wales ). Most tanks have to be installed on a concrete base or reinforced pavers. Never presume for any huge digester tank the ground bearing pressure will be sufficient to support the tank without settlement and damage to the tank base, always make sure that a structural engineer or otherwise suitably qualifies and experience pro assesses the ground bearing pressure at your site before installing the standard tank base. In some examples specially strengthened tank bases or rafts will be required, and at some poor ground bearing sites piling could be needed to support the tank base.

The tanks supplied for digestion plant use are usually needed to be warranted for a minimum of twenty years and the best can be recycled at the end of their useful life. For any guarantee to be defended the purchaser will have to make the proposed use and corrosion traits of the liquid held in any tank clear to the supplier / manufacturer, and go along with any regular inspection or other wants set in the terms of the warranty.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Evidence of a Market Will Become End of "Waste" - EA Says

The Environment Agency (England and Wales) has now published a briefing note which makes it clear that it had changed its previous position that recovered material under the Quality Protocols scheme only ceases to be waste once it's been dispatched to the customer. It has decided that there shouldn't be any distinction made between processed material awaiting despatch and processed material which has already been despatched.

Vincent Brown, Head of Semple Fraser's expert legal team (website has confirmed, as reported in the CIWM's journal for Waste and Resource Management Professionals published in July, that in law, there never was such a distinction.

The end of waste test needs only that you produce a marketable product that can be utilized in the same way as a normal ( ie, non-waste-derived ) product, with no worse environmental effects. Note the word "can" - not "is".

The legal test needs some evidence of a market to avoid sham production of claimed products that are simply stockpiled ( outside waste controls ) and never meant for consumption, but the method of physical delivery to the buyer wasn't needed.

And this approach is mirrored in Article six of the new Waste Framework Directive ( 2008 / 8 / EC ), which states that "certain mentioned waste shall cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery operation and complies with express criteria to be developed" as to accord with the conditions, including that "a market or demand exists" for the substance or object.

The EA's new enlightened approach is to be welcomed and must come as very welcome news to many recyclers, as an indication of a more flexible and accommodating perspective to waste-derived products.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Major UK Water Company’s Invests in Anaerobic Digestion of Sewage Sludge

The following article is based on an extract of Wet News (November 2008) the original article is about work done by May Gurney to refurbish and improve the current Severn Trent Coalport, Newport and Monkmoor, anaerobic digesters which digest sewage sludge:

AS NEW energy and environmental directives come into action, the UK sewage treatment industry is increasingly under the spotlights.

Many examples of renewable energy projects by the gigantic water firms and their framework partners are reported to be on their way which will be almost guaranteed to draw much interest from politicians, rivals and the public. Combined heat and power (CHP) is at the forefront in the UK Water Industry, manufacturing heat and electricity from a single input source that might otherwise be burned off as waste.
Severn Trent Water and May Gurney completed an intensive project to install new anaerobic digestion technology on 3 of Severn Trent's sites. The water company has been working in cooperation with contractor May Gurney, a consultant in biogas optimisation, which has been carrying out these works since 2007.

Last summer when the article was writted it was getting near completion on the last site located at Coalport, Shropshire. The other 2 sites, at Newtown ( Powys ) and Monkmoor, Shrewsbury ( Shropshire ), were handed back this summer and are manufacturing biogas from their improved digester systems and using it to fuel CHP units.

The work at Newtown, Monkmoor and Coalport has enabled the sites to scale back their carbon footprints and produce green energy. Doing so will also prove very much a bargain as Severn Trent will become more self-sufficient and save heavily on external energy suppliers' ever growing costs.

At Coalport alone, the median daily sludge feed to the digesters is 129m3, which produces a mean of 2,640m3 of biogas each day - enough to power the on-site CHP units that generate electricity to run the site as well as the heat to operate the boilers and continue the digestion process.

The authors of the article see a huge future for biogas.
"For all the same environmental, legislative and commercial reasons that have inspired Severn Trent Water, others will certainly follow suit," and they are saying, much more positive things about Anaerobic Digestion, as follows:

"We are happy about the possibilities for expansion and development in this area. A complete industry is expanding round the re-emergence of anaerobic digestion, which enables waste material, eg food waste, to be used as a resource to provide replenish-able energy.”

"The giant increase in available volumes of biogas, rising oil costs, increasing demand for new renewable fuels and bio energy will excite investment in biogas utilization technologies which will see biogas refining to be used as auto fuels or injection into the nation's grid.”

"This latter opportunity will definitely not have escaped the notice of water firms. While sites with anaerobic digestion processes already benefit from self-sufficiency by manufacturing their own energy, we need only look to states like Sweden to see examples of how extra revenue can be generated by selling electricity and bio-methane and at the same time make a contribution to govt. climate change, waste management and wider environmental objectives."

In the field of renewable resources the authors say that Severn Trent is sure to be at the forefront as the industry moves in this direction. As the number 1 producer of renewable energy in the water sector, Severn Trent is progressing with its investment programme to further develop greener energy.

Having set itself the target of just about doubling self-generation from renewable resources to thirty percent of its total energy use by 2013, Severn Trent has clear plans to develop usage of existing technologies as well as introduce new and emerging technologies.

Severn Trent operates thirty CHP plants across its area using methane gas produced from the sewage treatment process. In 2005, this accounted for 51 percent of all clean energy derived from sewage gas in the United Kingdom and about 1.3% of all clean energy generated in the United Kingdom.

Current investment plans are reported to include schemes to increase the use of CHP plants across the region, install more water turbines in its dams, generate power from energy crops, and generate power from turbines at acceptable locations.

Furthemore, that investment is reported to be ongoing as a consequence of the success of the Monkmoor, Newtown and Coalport projects, the company has, we undertand, been in advanced talks with May Gurney about another 9 CHP projects.

More about May Gurney.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Biogas Plant Gasholders and Managing CDM In-house

The following article is based on an extract of Wet News (November 2008 issue)the original article is about work done by May Gurney to refurbish and improve the current Severn Trent Coalport, anaerobic digester which digests sewage sludge.

I was particularly interested in the information about the biogas gas holder, which they also call a gas-bag due to its flexible construction. We are told that, the installation of a new, larger gas bag will add to efficiency of the site.

The new spherical gas holders are the most immediate visible sign of the state of the art solutions that have been implemented at the Severn Trent sites. These are golfing ball white spheres which are created from 2 polyester and PVC-based skins, the outer being inflated by air pressure and holds up the structure. The inner skin is postponed inside he outer skin and contains the biogas.

The wonderful thing about these new biogas holders is that they are made from materials which are immune to the corrosive nature of the unscrubbed biogas, which with its hydrogen sulphide content produces feeble sulphuric acid on contact with the water in the saturated gas. This would simply severely damage an unprotected steel container.

The writer informs us that there are apparent savings from a gas holder bag compared against a traditional rigid gas holder. A traditional steel gas holder also needs a significant civil structure which is full of water and contains what amounts to a steel bell, while a gas bag simply sits on a concrete base. The bag also needs less upkeep and isn't subject to freezing in winter. This produces a far smaller carbon footprint and a reduction in capital and operational spend.

The new gas holders are also in truth crucial pieces of process plant, instead of the mere storage vessels their name advocates. They maintain a consistent system pressure needed for the proper operation of engines, boilers and waste gas flare stacks. They also have level instruments that measure the height and volume of the inner gas bag to provide signals for process control, so they have to be simple, trustworthy and tough.

In-house Design Process and Safety

We are also told that further efficiencies and economies have been driven into the Severn Trent project thanks to the proven fact that May Gurney handled the complete design process in-house, from taking the outline design produced by Severn Trent's framework designer, thru to completion. While many main contractors might outsource the design part of such projects to an external consultant, May Gurney has its own expert team, so both reducing cost - making economies of scale and avoiding passing on fee-on-fee margins to the customer - and also reducing risk thanks to better control of safety in design risk assessments. Derek Shepherd is May Gurney's design chief, who is in charge of design coordination.

He explains the benefits of the full service approach : "By taking more control for Design Management upon themselves, and not passing it to a third party, they are hey believe particularly assured of coverage in all sides of the projects.

There's less risk, Derek points out, and by not having to confirm someone else's design we also save time without doubling up effort." Better still, the in-house design team have made a contribution to better environmental performance.

Derek Shepherd believes that, by having an independent and unbiased designer, they managed to identify all products, materials and providers based on performance and an overall design approach to the system. This was instead of it being based on any existing commercial relations.

Source: Wet News

Friday, June 26, 2009

Biomethane Best EU practices from the Karamel Newsletter

Biomethane: which are best practices in Europe?

From the collection of relevant feedstocks to end-uses of biomethane, what can be learnt from the main European experiences? Pierre Hirtzberger, project coordinator of BIOGASMAX, will provide responses at the European Conference on Biomethane Fuel, 7th-9th of September in Göteborg. Come and join this major event on biomethane fuel!
learn more ...

Germany: new legal tools on grid injection

The European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER), based in Karlsruhe, has entered in the « Biogasmax Circle of Friends ».

EIFER presented, 16th of June, to BIOGASMAX partners the legal framework regarding the grid injection of biomethane in Germany. Amongst the 4000 biogas plants running today in Germany, 20 plants inject biomethane into the natural gas grid (plus 20 sites in project).

Following the new legal framework adopted beginning of 2009, biomethane production plant should be increasing in the next few years. The new national energy policy has set up ambitious goals towards biomethane development: 6 billion m3 of biométhane in 2020 (6% of the national needs of gas), 10 billion m3 in 2030 (10% of the national needs of gas)..learn more ...

France/Czech Rep.: European Commission approves state aid to transport sector
Brussels, Belgium, 25th May 2009; The European Commission has announced not to raise any objections under the EC Treaty state aid rules to the financial support of the transport sector in France. The French approach particularly supports urban CNG buses and service trucks and also mentions biomethane. The Commission also decided positively on the Czech state aid request which supports projects for constructing and upgrading alternative refuelling stations for public transport operators.

The official decision by the Commission to authorize the French state aid programme was already made on 17th December 2008 (see attachment), but the original wording of the Commission's approval was not published until 25th May. Starting 1st January 2009, henceforward, the French state is able to financially support the French transport sector until end of December 2014.
learn more ...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Financing Methods for UK Government Biogas Plants

I am frequently being asked to include more information in the blog and at the web site ( about financing and contracting routes for the larger waste feedstock Anaerobic Digestion Plants. So here is some guidance based the Defra WIP compiled programme information a few years back.

Development of any Advanced Biological Treatment (ABT) Plant will involve capital expenditure of several million pounds. There are a number of potential funding sources for Local Authorities planning to develop such facilities, including:

Capital Grants: general grants may be available from national economic initiatives and EU structural funds;

Prudential Borrowing: the Local Government Act 2003 provides for a new 'prudential' system of capital finance controls;

PFI Credits and Private Sector Financing:
under the Private Finance Initiative a waste authority can obtain an annual subsidy from central government through a Special Grant;

Other Private-Sector Financing: A contractor may be willing to enter a contract to provide a new facility and operate it. The contractor's charges for this may be expressed as gate fees; and

Existing sources of local authority funding:

for example National Non-Domestic Rate payments (distributed by central government), credit (borrowing) approvals, local tax raising powers (council tax), income from rents, fees, charges and asset sales (capital receipts). In practice there will be limited opportunity to take advantage of these.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IBBK International Biogas Events September/October 2009

IBBK is offering two additional international events for people working in the biogas industry in September and October 2009:

1) INTERNATIONAL BIOGAS TRAINING COURSE (5-Days) taking place 28 September - 2 October 2009 traditionally at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany The course coves the following topics:
- process of biogas formation
- principles of designing biogas plants- applied technology
- safety issues
Please, see our leaflet (as of June 2009) and Registration PDF

23 - 26 September 2009, starting in Berlin and ending in the area of Cologne, Germany Participants will visit biogas plants and manufacturers in Germany.
Please, see our leaflet (as of June 2009) and Registration PDF:

We offer special rates for booking both events. The number of participants is limited - therefore we recommend an early registration.

For more details please follow the links above or visit our homepage and don't hesitate to contact us, if you have any further questions.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

UK Government Encourages Itself to Produce Renewable Energy in EA News Item

The Public sector has been urged to generate renewable energy to cut costs and emissions.

The Environment Agency and Partnerships for Renewables today urged public sector organisations in the UK to consider using their land and property to generate renewable energy, which has the potential to provide power for over 1.5 million households.

Councils and agencies could provide power for over 1.5 million households

The Environment Agency and Partnerships for Renewables today urged public sector organisations in the UK to consider using their land and property to generate renewable energy, which has the potential to provide power for over 1.5 million households.

In the midst of the recent focus on economic and political crises, the two organisations are using World Environment Day (5 June) to encourage the public sector to tackle the impending crisis of climate change and set an example to others by taking positive action.

The organisations have calculated that public sector organisations in the UK could generate up to some 3 gigawatts of power - enough to power all the households in Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and Doncaster combined and save 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide per year - by installing renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and hydropower schemes on their land.

Public sector bodies own more than 10 per cent of the land in the UK including tens of thousands of buildings and over one million hectares of land. Despite this, only a tiny fraction of the total amount of green energy which the UK is capable of producing comes from renewable energy projects on public sector property.

Although many public sector bodies are already beginning to investigate how they can utilise their land to generate renewable energy, the Environment Agency and Partnerships for Renewables are calling for more organisations to install clean energy technologies to help reduce carbon emissions in addition to generating revenue from the sale of electricity and saving the taxpayer money.

Last year the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, and environmental groups highlighted the need for public sector bodies to take a lead role in the fight against climate change and promote green energy.

The Environment Agency is urging other public sector bodies to follow its example after its announcement in November 2008 to build up to 80 wind turbines on Environment Agency owned land across the country, developing around 200 megawatts of renewable energy capacity - enough to power 90,000 households and save around 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. In addition the turbines will generate up to £2.4 million of revenue every year - money that will be ploughed back into protecting and improving the environment, and adapting to climate change. Other organisations such as British Waterways have also announced similar plans.

The Environment Agency recently ranked as the top green UK public sector organisation in the annual Sunday Times Green List. 99 per cent of electricity used by the Environment Agency is from renewable sources and stringent targets are in place for reducing energy and water. Recycling facilities are available in the offices covering 20 different types of waste. The organisation’s green travel policies have led to a mileage reduction of some 8.9 million miles over the past two years alone and in three years, the Environment Agency has managed to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 14 per cent and water use by ten per cent.

Environment Agency Head of Climate Change and Sustainable Development Tony Grayling said:

"Investment in green technology such as wind turbines not only help cut carbon emissions and secure more home grown energy - they also make financial sense to those involved and ultimately save the taxpayer money.

"The pressures businesses and the public sector are facing may tempt them to cut corners and spend less attention on environmental improvement programmes, but it is now more important than ever before that we look to alternative sources of energy to meet our demands."

Stephen Ainger, Chief Executive of Partnerships for Renewables which was established by the Carbon Trust in 2006, said:

"By embracing and fulfilling its renewable energy potential the UK’s public sector has the opportunity to not only demonstrate strong leadership domestically, in the fight against climate change, it has the opportunity to set the standard for public sector organisations to follow globally. The role of the public sector organisations leading this movement, such as the Environment Agency and British Waterways, should not be underestimated".

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"The public sector has a key role to play in cutting emissions by harnessing the UK’s vast renewable energy potential. Developing green energy could create tens of thousands of new jobs, reduce our dependency of the tyranny of fossil fuels and give this country real influence in the global battle against climate change".


The vehicle for achieving this investment is Partnerships for Renewables which was set up by Carbon Trust Enterprises in 2006 to work in partnership with the public sector to develop, construct and operate renewable energy projects. By providing a one stop shop for the development of renewable energy projects focused on a project development process tailored to the specific needs of the public sector, Partnerships for Renewables provide a way for Public Sector Bodies to access the economic and environmental benefits associated with renewable energy and contribute towards the fight against climate change without diverting public sector resources away from frontline services.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Scottish Waste and Resources Conference 2009

Sponsored by WRAP and VALPAK

The Scottish Waste and Resources Conference will host the annual 2 day conference, exhibition and awards dinner on 6th and 7th October 2009.

As the title suggests, the partnership event is not exclusive to those working in the waste management industry. At this crucial time in our future development we must engage with the wider resources management sectors.

The conference programme for 2009 features the overall theme of Delivering Zero Waste in Scotland which will provide a pick and mix choice of sessions on key policy updates, new innovations and hearty debate amongst practical participative sessions.

Alongside the conference there is an indoor exhibition which will allow you to meet and discuss your requirements with waste/reprocessing companies and suppliers, providing the ideal networking opportunity.

The Scottish Waste & Resources Awards Dinner, sponsored by Ascot Environmental Ltd and Scotgen (Dumfries) Ltd, will take place on the last evening of the event, 7th October. The purpose of the Scottish Waste and Resources Awards is to acknowledge, reward and celebrate those organisations that have shown an outstanding contribution, through best practice and innovation, to the Scottish waste, recycling and resource management sectors. The 2008 dinner was attended by over 400 people including leading figures from local authorities, private sector organisations, professional bodies and regulators from across Scotland. Nominations for the awards are now open and application forms can be completed online at

Whether you have been before or not, the Scottish Waste & Resources Conference 2009 promises to be an event not to be missed and a one-stop shop for you, your organisation and your colleagues and one that will keep you ahead of the critical factors influencing our industry.

For priority information on the conference programme or more details on sponsorship opportunities, exhibition of the awards dinner then please contact the Operations Team on (01604) 620426 or email .

BioPower Generation Conference USA, Chicago, 8 - 9 July 2009

In a report published by Biomass Magazine it states that the U.S. Interior Department plans to invest $15 million in 55 biomass projects in 12 states. It goes on to say that “the projects have the potential to provide additional economic benefits to support local or regional employment through post-treatment use of biomass in wood products or power generation.”

Leading utilities, project developers, policy makers and investors plan to meet in Chicago on the 8 – 9 July for the 5th BioPower Generation Conference. Experts already confirmed include:

- Reed Wills, President, ADAGE

- Gary Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Green Hunter

- Leonard Fagan, Vice President, Engineering and Technology, American Renewables

- Andrew Singer, Senior Vice President, Constellation New Energy

- Ron Flax-Davidson, Vice President Business Development, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp

- Todd Alexander, Partner, Chadbourne & Parke

- Art Holland, Vice President, Utility and Risk Services, Pace

- William Johnson, Manager Biofuels Development, Alliant Energy

Click here to download the event brochure.

Ensure you quote BPGEM4 when booking.

Attendees will gain valuable insight into the biomass power generation opportunities in the U.S. and will hear best practice case studies from 10 project developers and utilities. Your questions will be answered at BioPower Generation USA including:

- What do recent policy developments mean for the biopower industry?

- What is the key potential for large scale biomass power production?

- What are the key criteria in developing a biopower portfolio?

- How can producers access financing in the current economic climate?

- What are the latest technologies to improve biopower efficiency?

- How can sustainable feedstock supplies be sourced?

- What are the latest developments in high yield energy crops?

- What criteria are necessary for efficient transmission & distribution?

- How can agricultural, forestry and paper sectors benefit?

Previous attendees include:

Alstom Power, Babcock & Brown, Biopower International, Bioverda Iberia, BP Alternative Energy, Camco Chemical, Carbon Trust, Ceres, CEZ, Chevron Technology Ventures, Contango Markets, Danish Energy Agency, Desmet Engineers & Contractors, Dong Energy, Drax Power, EBICo, EC Bioenergie, Ecofys, Econcern, Ecosecurities, EDF, Electrabel, Enel, EniPower, EnviTech Biogas, Eon Benelux, EOn UK, Essent Energy Trading, Fortum, GE Energy Financial Services, Harbert Power, Kfw Entwicklungsbank, KMW Energi, Mott MacDonald, MW Power, Nidera, Nord/LB, Norsk Vesk, Shell Global Solutions, RWE, UK Trade & Investment, Vattenfall, Veolia, Wärtsilä

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

New Web Site from Xergi Biogas Provides Insight Into AD Life Cycle Assessments

Xergi - The Biogas Plant Contractor, contacted me recently to announce their new web site. I like the site a great deal, and in particular I recommend their downloadable Life Cycle Assessment report which looks at the relative whole life environmental benefits of different Anaerobic Digestion feed stocks.

The report is titled:

Life Cycle Assessment of Biogas from Maize silage and from Manure - for transport and for heat and power production under displacement of natural gas based heat works and marginal electricity in northern Germany

Please note that the Life Cycle Assessment is being reviewed. The final Assessment will be issued after completion of review, we are told.

However, the report is published in its 2nd draft, dated June 21st 2007. The authors are Kathrine Anker Thyø and Henrik Wenzel of the German Institute for Product Development.

An extract from the summary follows, but there are a lot of data and other information in this free report, making it worth a visit to their web site at the link below, for anyone seeking to decide which are the greenest options for AD plant projects.

Biogas based on manure is not an alternative strongly correlated to the other bioenergy scenarios, because it does not include any utilization of agricultural land. However, since it provides the same services to society as the other scenarios, it still compares to them and should b included in the overall prioritisation of which type of bioenergy technology society should promote with subsidies and other incentives.

The conclusion of this comparison is unambiguous: biogas from manure implies by far the highest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of services provided to society. This being due to the fact that it implies CO2 reductions not only from the fossil fuel replacement by the generated biogas, but equally significantly from the reduce methane emissions from manure storage, reduced nitrous oxide emissions from soil application of the manure and improved plant availability of the nitrogen in the manure.

The brief and overall conclusions on manure based biogas can, thus, be expressed as:

- Biogas from manure stands out as having much higher reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than the other bioenergy types and equal savings in fossil fuels. As cost aspects point to the same direction, manure based biogas should have the highest priority of all the compared bioenergy types.

The other scenarios are strongly correlated by their competition for the same agricultural land. Based on the comparative approach, the LCA shows that environmentally and in terms of fossil fuel savings, energy crops should be prioritised for heat and power purposes either 1) through a preceding biogas generation or 2) by direct incineration or gasification, these pathways leading to almost equal CO2 reductions and fossil fuel savings. Energy crops converted directly into a transport fuel implies significantly lower CO2 reductions due to the energy losses in the conversion processes.

The brief and overall conclusions on maize based biogas can, thus, be expressed as:

Among the compared types of bioenergy requiring agricultural land and energy crops, biogas from maize silage and heat and power from willow imply the highest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the highest fossil fuel savings, environmentally and in terms of fossil fuel savings.

More here at the web site..

Monday, May 25, 2009

Swedish Co. Helps S Korea Convert Food Waste Into Biogas


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean city of Ulsan lets water generated from processing food waste run off into the ocean, which can generate methane gas harmful to the environment.

Now, with the help of a Swedish company, it is going to start converting that waste water into biogas, a type of clean fuel that can be used as power to heat buildings and even power vehicles.

South Korea is looking for ways to increase the use of biogas and other clean energy alternatives amid a push by the government of President Lee Myung-bak to embark on a new development model that emphasizes so-called green growth.

Ulsan, a brawny industrial center of about 1 million people on the country's southeastern coast, saw biogas as an attractive way to deal with a burgeoning waste problem as well as coming tighter government regulations.

"Ulsan is running out of waste disposal sites to cover all the garbage that comes out from the city," municipal official Park In-muk said Thursday. "When garbage is processed into compost, it creates waste water," he said, which the city has been letting it flow into the ocean.

The dumping of waste water generated by the processing of leftover food into the sea, however, will be banned from 2013, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime affairs.

The Ministry of Environment, meanwhile, has increased its budget this year for waste energy, including biogas plants, by five times to 178 billion won ($143 million), according to ministry official Choi Byung-chul.

The government's impending ban on the practice spurred Ulsan, home to big corporations Hyundai Motor Corp. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., helped push Ulsan to look for alternatives. It found a partner in Scandinavian Biogas Fuels AB.

The company is based in Sweden, which has been a pioneer in biogas development.

Scandinavian Biogas is investing about 10 million euros to upgrade a wastewater treatment plant in Ulsan and will soon start accepting food and other waste for processing into biogas, said Scandinavian Biogas President and CEO Thomas Davidsson.

"Producing biogas is a very effective way of taking care of the waste" as it can be used for heat, electricity and vehicle fuel, Davidsson said in an interview Wednesday. He was in Seoul to participate in the Seoul Climate Change Expo held in conjunction with the third C40 Large Cities Climate Summit.

Turning food waste into biogas can also contribute to efforts to stop global warming.

Read the rest of this article at The Associated Press.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

UK Specification for Compost BSI PAS 100

Bsi Pas 100 Consultation 2009

The nationally recognised UK specification for compost, BSI PAS 100, is being reviewed to ensure that its contents - from product preparation to monitoring and traceability - are fully up-to-date and reflect recent changes in the fast-moving recycling industry.

For anyone that has not heard of the BSI Pas 100 specification let me just explain that the idea behind it (and it is a very successful one too) is that by providing a very high quality standard the market will be strengthened and sellers and users will gain confidence in waste industry compost products.

The idea has been working very well in my view. I believe that AD Composts are being included now for the first time.

If you have views on how this specification should be developed this is a chance to get involved in the development of this standard.

All comments must be in with WRAP before the close of consultation on 30th June 2009. (Wrap consultation)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Anaerobic Digestion Can Be Best Overall Including Being Cheapest Overall

I guess that if you are a long term subscriber this headline will not be a surprise, but it is good to report that others think so too! Read on and find out why.

Processing food waste using anaerobic digestion technology is not necessarily as expensive in relative terms as some councils may think, consultancy Eunomia has claimed.

Speaking at the AD In the City event held in the UK by BiogenGreenfinch last month, senior consultant, Dr Adrian Gibbs, said that using AD to process food waste collected separately could work out cheaper than processing commingled food and green waste together in an in vessel composting plant.

Dr Gibbs explained that a report by Eunomia had found that sending food waste to AD and green waste to windrow composting cost UK councils £9.50 in gate fees per household per year, whereas sending commingled green and food waste to IVC cost £10.80 per household. He also said that just collecting food waste alone and sending it to AD cost £5.50 per household over the same period.

Dr Gibbs admitted that average gate fees for AD facilities - around £55 per tonne - were higher than IVC - which, he quoted as £45 per tonne, but said that "overall AD is cheaper". He also claimed that separate food waste collections also worked out cheaper than mixed collections and said that the number of local authorities which were implementing separate collections had risen from 11 in 2007 to 54 in 2008.

He told the London borough council officers who attended the event, which was set up to explore ways to introduce more AD capacity in London, that - "AD is better than IVC, it's the way to go and it is the one I would watch."

Anaerobic digestion treats food waste in an oxygen-free environment and produces biogas - which can be converted into energy - and a nutrient rich digestate which can be used on farmland. It also has the potential to provide combined heat and power (CHP).

IVC treats green and/or food waste and sometimes card in an enclosed but oxygenated and aerated environment and produces compost. It does not generate energy.

A number of strengths and weaknesses were highlighted for both separate and mixed collection. The plus side to mixed collections included - only needing to use one vehicle, only one bin required and quick and cheap collections.

However, Dr Gibbs explained that the seasons significantly affected what was collected, with garden waste levels dropping significantly in the winter, meaning that feedstock was inconsistent. He also said that the waste had to be processed in an enclosed environment due to Animal By-Product Regulations and this ups the cost of green waste.

Dr Gibbs also pointed out that green waste and food wastes required different collection frequencies. In addition, not all homes have gardens and collecting green and food waste together prevented councils charging for green waste collection. He claimed that separate AD collection reduced net costs for councils and allowed local authorities to charge for garden waste. He added that there is a large quantity of food waste which could potentially be picked up.

Dr Gibbs said AD had a number of strengths, including -

* Internationally proven technology
* Anaerobic Digestion has strong government support in the form of ROCs, a Task Group and feed-in tariffs
* It is a carbon positive technology
* Valuable outputs - biogas and digestate - and
* Leaves green waste to go through the cheaper windrow process.

He said Anaerobic Digestion's only weakness was the lack of facilities in the UK, adding - "AD wins hands-down for organic waste."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

US Environmental Power and Xergi Collaboration Extended

Environmental Power, the US a developer which is an owner and operator of clean energy production facilities, which currently through their facilities generates significant quantities of tradeable carbon offset credits, has announced a new deal with Swedish renewables/ anaerobic digestion company Xergi.

The company is dedicated to producing energy that is clean, reliable and secure. Energy that uses waste materials instead of precious resources. Energy that is cost-effective, and available today. Energy that transcends conventional notions of what is possible, and that is for example - anaerobic digestion and biogas.

In their press release they tell us:

Environmental Power Announces Investment by Technology Provider Xergi A/S and New Cooperation Agreement

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., April 28, 2009 – Environmental Power Corporation, a leader in the renewable bioenergy industry, today announced that Xergi A/S of Denmark has entered into a new technology and financial agreement with them better reflecting EPG’s build / own / operate business model.

Under the terms of the new agreement, EPG and its wholly owned subsidiary, Microgy, Inc., will continue to have exclusive licensing rights for Xergi’s anaerobic digester technology in North America, while reducing the license fees on Microgy’s current and future projects. In addition, EPG and Xergi will continue to collaborate on development and use of other technologies and techniques such as the use of micro-organisms and enzymes, which enhance the production of biogas from manure and other organic substrates.

“This investment and agreement demonstrate Xergi’s continued confidence in Environmental Power’s business model and its commitment to support the company’s growth in the renewable energy market in North America. Together with Xergi, they will continue our work on technological advancements that will increase energy production from existing feed stocks, while lowering capital and operating costs for large-scale renewable energy projects,” said Rich Kessel, President and CEO of Environmental Power.

“We look forward to developing innovative solutions that maximize renewable energy from agricultural and other waste organic feed stock.”

“Environmental Power and its subsidiary Microgy have established themselves as the leader in development and commercialization of RNG® projects in North America,” said Frank Rosager, President and CEO of Xergi.

“We look forward to learning more about how to produce the equivalent of Environmental Power’s RNG® product in Europe while supporting Environmental Power’s continued growth in North America. This is truly a mutually beneficial relationship.”


Friday, May 15, 2009

Croatia Goes Big on Biogas with Largest Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Croatia to build largest biogas production plant in Europe

VUKOVAR, May 14. (Hina). A cornerstone laying ceremony was held on Wednesday at Ovcara farm outside the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar for the construction of the future largest biogas production plant in Europe.

The 30 million EUR project has been initiated by the Vukovar-based "Bionergija" company, established by the local Vupik agribusiness and several Croatian and foreign entrepreneurs.

The future plant, which should be built by the end of 2010, is expected to produce 10 megawatts of electrical energy and 11 megawatts of thermal energy daily.

According to a consultant of the Bienergija company, about 700 tonnes of biomass should be ensured daily from agricultural crops on Vupik-owned arable land for the production in the biogas plant.

The factory is to employ some 200 people.

Croatia is expected to raise the biofuels' share in transport fuels to 5.75 percent by 2012 and to 20 percent by 2020, parliamentary deputy Petar Mlinaric said at the ceremony.


Biogas is the New Racing Fuel with Biomethane Powered Sciroccos

Only last weekend a guy told me that he thought biogas was a "cranky" subject! Well, I think not, and what could be better than this announcement to show such people just how wrong they are!

Biogas-Powered VW Sciroccos Debut at STCC

Source: NGV Global

VW Scirocco has successful STCC debut


E.ON, a German producer of biogas and provider of biogas refuelling equipment, has partnered with Volkswagen Motorsport to enter two 100% biomethane powered Sciroccos in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) for 2009.

The team celebrated a successful race debut for its season-opening event, held at Mantorp racetrack in Mjölby, on May 2nd, in what is reputedly the toughest racing event for standard cars in Sweden. In the first of the two races the best Scirocco was in the 11th position, in the second race in the 9th position -- in both races 16 seconds behind the winner after a 14 lap race at the 3.1 km long circuit.

With further work on the new VW cars the biogas team is confident of performance improvements throughout the nine event season, held across venues in Sweden with one race in Norway. "The purpose of our effort is to demonstrate the potential of biogas - the Swedish climate-smart fuel, " says Håkan Buskhe, CEO of E.ON, adding they want to show that biogas is like any other fuel -- only better.

The (almost) 280 hp, 4-cylinder, 1998 cc Scirocco reaches 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 240 km/h, with output of 310 Nm. The two vehicles were built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover.

Driver Fredrik Ekblom, who has completed nine STCC seasons (three championships, three silver and a bronze), and Patrik Olsson, who has raced in the Volkswagen Polo Cup, are enthusiastic about their vehicles. Ekblom said, "For me, this is a significant challenge. After nine seasons, to start with a whole new racing concept with clean, green fuel feels new, fresh and incredibly exciting."

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Using Biomass to Produce Electricity More Efficient than Transforming the Biomass into Biofuels

The following is part of a newsletter from Green Power Conferences publicising their forthcoming BioPower Generation USA conference, Chicago, USA, 8-9 July 2009.

It certainly got me thinking, as I had always assumed the opposite to be the case, and I would dearly like to be able to attend to find out more.

By the way if you are not already subscriber to their Newsletter, get over to their web site (link given below) subscribe and enter the competition for a free event pass.

According to a recent report in Science, using biomass to produce electricity is 80% more efficient than transforming the biomass into biofuels and twice as effective in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Join leading utilities, project developers, policy makers and investors in Chicago on 8-9 July for BioPower Generation USA and learn new strategies to increase biomass power generation across the U.S.

Attendees will have the opportunity to quiz leading project developers and utility representatives as they present best practice case studies, including:

- GreenHunter
- American Renewables
- Constellation New Energy
- Alliant Energy
- Progress Energy
- NV Energy
- Intrinergy
- Central Hudson Gas & Electrical Corporation
- AgriPower

"As RPS and carbon legislation evolve, so will opportunities to develop more bio-power projects" says conference speaker William Johnson, Manager of Biofuels Development at Alliant Energy. William will address how biomass can be integrated into existing power plant structures and look at the challenges in handling, transportation and storage of biomass sources.

Register today and benefit from our early bird discount (Valid until the 15th May) and get entered for a free event pass. More at the Green Power Conferences web site here.

What are your views? - use the blog comment post below the blog!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Biogas Plant Plan - Cumbrian Farmers to Generate Own Energy

Cumbrian farmers to generate own energy through biogas plan

Farmers in Cumbria are teaming up to develop anaerobic digestion facilities to generate their own renewable energy from agricultural waste.

Community Renewable Energy North West (CoRE NW), a group based in Workington, plans to set up a number of co-operatives to develop the plants, which will produce electricity and heat from farmers' manure and silage.

The first plant is to be developed at Middle Farm in Silloth, in the north west of the county, and could secure planning permission next spring. A feasibility study is currently under way, with 10 farmers interested in getting involved.

Hopes are that the £3.5 million digester could be commissioned by the end of 2010, producing just under 1MW of power - around seven million kWh units a year, or enough electricity to supply about 2,000 homes.

Plans are to use heat produced by the facility in the farm's four large chicken sheds, as well as to the next-door cement block factory.

Social enterprise NRG NorthEast Renewables Group is to supply and install the digester, subject to planning permission, with technology expected to be supplied by German biogas company Biogas Hochreiter.

The project will see local farmers owning the new anaerobic digester along with CoRE NW itself, while NRG will be a minor stakeholder.

Core NW has set up an energy supply company (ESCo) to manage energy sales, with expectations that the facility could bring in £1.2 million a year, achieving payback in around six years. Profits from the project - around £100,000 a year - will go towards setting up three more anaerobic digestion plants in the area, as well as supporting other community renewable energy projects.

Research behind the project has suggested that farmers involved in an anaerobic digestion scheme could see an annual income of £20,000, along with up to £16,300 for supplying materials and dividends averaging £10,000 a year.

Anaerobic digestion involves bacterial feeding on organic material in large tanks, producing a methane-rich biogas that can be used to generate energy, as well as a residue that can be used as a fertiliser.

It is seen as a particularly attractive technology for north west Cumbria, since the region has a high density of dairy farms, which produce a considerable amount of manure and slurry, which is difficult to deal with under new legal controls.

CoRE NW said digestion plants could effectively double the profitability of dairy farmers.

Mike Pearson, who owns the farm where the first digester is being proposed, said: "We think this a great way forward for Cumbrian farmers. As well as increasing our income, it also means we reduce our usage of chemicals and produce renewable energy."

Initial work on the Middle Farm project was funded by West Cumbria social enterprise project The Hub, which is run by Lancashire-based industrial and provident society Co-operative and Mutual Solutions.

Feedstock for the plant is likely to inclure 20,000 tonnes of slurry, 10,000 tonnes of silage from currently unproductive land and 3,000 tonnes of chicken manure. Some 10,000 tonnes of food waste from Lakeland Creameries and other local sources could also be used in the plant.

More here...

Anaerobic Digestion Community Website