Friday, January 23, 2009

Stockholm - Biogas First Choice as the Cleanest Fuel Available

This is a posting from KARAMEL BiogasMax the EU sponsored biogas web site:

Stockholm : an increasing number of buses fueled with biomethane
bus stockholm 050109

SL, the company in charge of Public Transport in the town and the county of Stockholm, announced that its fleet will include 80 buses running on biomethane this year. An SL analysis showed that biomethane is the most environmental friendly and economically attractive biofuel.

SL (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik), in charge of the whole of the Public Transport in and around Stockholm, operates more than 700 000 travels a day. As SL is concerned about environmental impact of its activity, it has run for quite a long time an environmental policy of CO2 emissions reduction. Thus, our Biogasmax partner introduced its first biogas buses by 2003, to reach lately the number of 52 units, which run today with gas natural and bioethanol buses.

An SL analysis that tackles different alternative fuels shows that biomethane is the most efficient biofuel : bioethanol does not offer the same environmental advantages, apart from other ethical concerns. The biomethane use as fuel for vehicle in Public Transport clearly creates an attractive environmentally closed loop : this means that the town-dwellers themselves, with the production of their organic wastes, supply the ressources required for the fuel production of their own public transport.

SL states that biogas is the first-hand choice as it is the cleanest fuel available today. Thus, it announces an expansion of the number of biogas buses : 80 (currently 50 articulated gas buses) by the end of that year, and, over the next four years, a view of 500 units. Today, these buses operate in the inner city of Stockholm, where air quality is the worst. But, as the number of these biogas buses increases, they will operate in the suburbs of Stockholm.

The expansion of the biogas buses depends of course on the local production capacity of biomethane. SL has secured the long term supply via agreements with Stockholm Water and K├Ąppala Association. Go to BiogasMax here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scottish Water to Team Up with Monsal on Biogas Plant in Cumbernauld

Scottish Water to build biogas plant in Cumbernauld

Scottish Water's plans to build an anaerobic digestion facility at Cumbernauld which will generate electricity and heat have made a major step forward with the signing of agreements to design and build the 30,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant.

The utilities company has secured the services of Nottinghamshire-based AD specialists Monsal and HBS Construction of Glasgow to design and build the Deerdykes facility, which will be built on the same site as its existing 24,000 tonne-a-year capacity in-vessel composting plant.

Expected to be fully operational by April 2010, the plant will generate 1MW of electricity - to be used on site, by neighbouring industrial estates and, potentially, sold back to the National Grid.

It will also produce 1.1MW of heat which can be used in district heating schemes for local homes and businesses.

Planning permission for the site, which will be run by the commercial arm of Scottish Water Waste Services, Horizons, has already been awarded and the company is in the process of securing operating permits.

Aidan Cumisky, managing director of Monsal, said: "This will be a flagship project for Scotland where Scottish Water Waste Services has taken the initiative to demonstrate the viability of biowaste anaerobic digestion on a large scale.

"This solution can be applied across Scotland to make a significant impact on waste recycling and renewable energy generation targets using the latest Monsal technology."

The development was welcomed by Mike Russell, environment minister for the Scottish Government, who said: "The extension to Deerdykes is precisely the kind of forward-thinking that we want local authorities to undertake as we push to minimise the waste generated in Scotland."

The plans were also well-received by Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland who said: "This is an example of a big company taking sound initiative to help address the twin problems of climate change and excessive organic waste being sent to landfill."

A spokesman for Scottish Water explained the plant would at first take in food waste collected by local councils and it is hoped that the food industry will also use the facility to process its waste.

He said that "initial waste streams to provide raw materials have already been secured" and added that Scottish Water is currently trying attract the commercial sector to the operation.

More at New Energy Focus...

Biogas-to-CNG Vehicle Fuel Projects Announced in Asia and Europe

QuestAir Drives Biogas-to-CNG Vehicle Fuel Projects in Asia and Europe
Market Developments Escrito por NGV Global, Martes 06 de Enero de 2009 00:00

Canada, Vancouver

QuestAir Technologies Inc. announced in mid December 2008 that it will supply M-3200 pressure swing adsorption systems for two unique projects that create renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) from biogas. The projects will use the systems to remove carbon dioxide and other contaminants from biogas waste streams to produce clean CNG that will power vehicles.

Austria's Spezialgase und Kryotechniksysteme Limited (SKS) and Salzburg AG, a large utility provider, have ordered a new system to expand their demonstration project in Salzburg. The plant purifies biogas generated by the digestion of grass clippings and other green waste from the city's municipal gardens, providing clean, green CNG for use as a vehicle fuel for city buses. Salzburg AG has plans to develop up to 20 additional biogas projects in Austria.

South Korea's Daesung Industrial Gases Co. Ltd. is developing one of the first biogas-to-CNG projects in Asia in Gimpo City, where biogas produced at the municipal landfill will be purified to create CNG fuel for use in city vehicles. Daesung Industrial and Hansol EME, a Korea-based environmental engineering company, plan to build a large-scale biogas upgrading plant in 2010 if the demonstration project meets expectations. More...

World Carbon Market Doubles and that Includes Anaerobic Digestion Credits

Analyst: World carbon market doubles in 2008
Latest research shows global market enjoyed strong performance in fourth quarter despite economic downturn and falling carbon prices Staff, BusinessGreen, 14 Jan 2009

According to the Point Carbon report, the global carbon market doubled in size to $125bn.

Further evidence emerged today backing up predictions that the carbon market will shrug off the worst of the economic downturn, as Point Carbon became the latest analyst firm to confirm that the global carbon market enjoyed record growth throughout 2008.

According to the latest figures from the company, the global carbon market doubled in size to €92bn ($125bn) last year, while traded volumes soared by 83 per cent year-on-year to 4.9 giga tonnes of carbon.

The release of the research comes just days after rival analyst firm New Carbon Finance reported that the global carbon market almost doubled to $118bn last year. It also predicted that the market would still enjoy a growth rate of 27 per cent this year, despite the slowing global economy.

The Point Carbon study did not offer predictions for the scale of the market in 2009, but Endre Tvinnereim, senior analyst and author of the report, said that there were encouraging signs during the fourth quarter of the year that the sector could resist the worst impacts of the global recession.

"There was steady growth in traded volumes throughout 2008, with brisk EUA trading in the fourth quarter and high activity in the secondary CER market," he said.

Veronique Bugnion, managing director of trading, analytics and research at Point Carbon, added that the rapid growth expected from new cap-and-trade schemes such as the recently launched RGGI scheme in the US meant that the outlook for the sector remained upbeat, despite the recent slide in carbon prices experienced by the EU emissions trading scheme. "

"The fact that global carbon markets have now broken the £100bn mark is more than symbolic," she said. "It represents a market that has doubled in size in an otherwise depressed environment. It is all the more remarkable since the prices of European Union Allowances have in fact dropped significantly in the past months."


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Much Needed Quality Protocol for Anaerobic Digestate Published

Anaerobic digestion technology is expected to become more attractive to UK investors following the publication of a long-awaited Quality Protocol aimed at cutting red tape governing solid residues from the process, known as digestate.

The revised Quality Protocol is available now on the Environment Agency website

WRAP, Defra and the Environment Agency have published a document which, subject to approval from the European Commission, will enable digestate which meets set criteria to be classified as a product rather than a waste. Such a move would mean the material would no longer be subject to waste management controls.

Anaerobic digestion is the process through which biodegradable waste is broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen. This process produces biogas, which can be used to generate energy, waste water and digestate.

The protocol is particularly significant because, despite government support for anaerobic digestion technology and its carbon benefits, there has been limited uptake of the technology in the UK to date - with marketing digestate one of the main sticking points.

Nick Bethel, policy advisor at the Environment Agency, told that the protocol had been designed to "bring value into the resource" and one of its purposes was to create a "climate for investment". Mr Bethel added the EA was "expecting to see further investment and more AD facilities being built" thanks to the re-classification of digestate from a waste to a product.


The Quality Protocol, which has been revised since an original consultation in April (see story) lays out a number of requirements for AD operators who want to produce "quality digestate" from biodegradable waste.

Digestate must be produced using source-segregated materials listed in the Protocol, such as municipal food waste which has been collected separately and specified food and animal wastes.

Significantly, the Protocol designates end market for the digestate. Those markets are:

• Agriculture
• Forestry
• Soil and field grown horticulture
• Land restoration
• Soil manufacture and blending operations
• Land reclamation

In all cases the digestate must be used in a way that does not "pose a risk to the environment" and does "not compromise the future sustainable use of the soil to which they are applied".

Waste operators must also keep strict records showing showing that digestate meets the approved standards and the Quality Protocol. AD operators must also obtain certification from an approved body such as the Association for Organics Recycling.

Before publication as a final document in England and Wales, the draft Quality Protocol must be notified before the European Commission's Technical Standards committee, which may take up to six months.

During this period, the Environment Agency will continue to regulate the production and use of quality outputs from anaerobic digestion of source-segregated biodegradable waste in accordance with the interim regulatory position statement available on the Environment Agency website.

A spokesman for Defra commented: "The Government recognises the potential of food waste to generate energy in an environmentally friendly way. For example, we are investing £10 million over the next three years into new anaerobic digestion demonstration plants to encourage a number of industries including energy providers to take up this important new technology.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Reflecting On UK Anaerobic Digestion Policy to Start the New Year

The Christmas and New Year period allows a little more time than usual to reflect on the path that we are treading in the UK, and many other EU nations as well, toward greater utilisation of AD and organic waste in the quest to divert waste from landfill.

Also, by using biogas we will both be gaining renewable energy from an otherwise wasted resource, and avoiding the emission of methane which is such a potent greenhouse gas and we will at least move in the right direction toward sustainability.

Also, there are opportunities via carbon credit funding for EU companies to buy CERs from developing nations, thus enabling them to utilise AD and similar sustainable processes.

I think that what I am describing was in fact very well stated by Dr Stephen Etheridge*, as Chair of the UK Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental management, in his CIWEM Water & Environment Magazine, July/August 2006.

The following is an extract from that article:-

In the UK, around 31 million tonnes of MSW are produced annually. Approximately 30 percent of this waste is biodegradable. As a result of the EU Landfill Directive, the UK waste management authorities must divert the biodegradable fraction of MSW from landfill to other treatment options.
Based on experience from full-scale AD facilities for MSW in Europe, the use of AD technologies in the UK could contribute significantly to waste and renewable energy targets. In order to address this, Defra carried out a consultation in 2003 on the potential role of AD as a bioprocess that could meet energy and soil conditioner objectives for Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI).

The consultation confirmed that if all the biodegradable MSW in the UK was used to generate biogas from digestion plants, approximately 2,420 million kilowatts of electricity could be produced each year.
As a result of the drive to combat climate change the emphasis in many parts of the world is now on mitigating emissions of methane to the atmosphere from existing treatment lagoons, landfills and other waste management systems. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and for every tonne saved there is the potential to secure a tradable certificate of emissions reduction (CER) worth 23 tonnes of carbon dioxide, Under the Kyoto Protocol emissions reductions in developing nations can be purchased by developed countries as a way to cost-effectively reduce their obligation to reduce carbon emissions.

Since many developing countries are in warm climates where methane is readily generated, anaerobic digestion is an ideal technology to mitigate emissions and to capture the biogas for the production of a renewable energy. In addition, developed nations are keen to buy CERs to offset difficult targets which must be achieved at home.
In a recent study funded by the UK FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) significant opportunities were identified for cattle, pig and agro-industrial operations in Mexico. To benefit from emissions trading opportunities each developing country must have a host nation office and a local infrastructure to certify emissions saved. These are now more prevalent and where they are not established many countries are in the process of doing so.
Although it is early days for CER trading, companies are already signing up potential clients in developing countries. Often the climate is naturally warm and with an appropriate low cost technology based on covered lagoons lined with flexible liner materials such as HDPE (high density polyethylene), digesters can be deployed to treat many agro-industrial wastes. The Asia BioGas Company has constructed nearly 50 anaerobic digesters in the last four to five years. One of these, based at a cassava factory, is thought to be the largest digester in the world.
Anaerobic Digestion is a unique technology which presents a range of opportunities to generate renewable energy, treat biodegradable MSW and reduce carbon emissions. It is precisely because the technology straddles different areas that incentives and support must be cross-sectoral. Whilst this has been implemented very successfully elsewhere in Europe, there are still challenges to be overcome in the UK if this technology is to achieve its true potential. ■
*Dr Stephen P Etheridge was the Chair of the CIWEM Scientific Group and a member of CIWEM's Waste Management Panel. He was co-Chair of the Environmental Protection Subject Group of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and Editor for Waste for the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He has led a number of international projects in Asia and Europe in the environmental and renewable energy sectors and was recently appointed Chief Technology Officer for the Asia BioGas Company.

So, there it is, and we are now two and a half years further down this path and real progress has being made in the adoption of AD on a much wider scale than thought possible even in 2006.

Hopefully, 2009 will see energy prices returning to a viable level from recent lows of scarcely $50 per barrel, and the lending banks will return to being just that, and all before we see a derailment of this progress.

Wishing all our readers very best wishes for 2009.

(Oh! Yes! Before I forget! Please participate by commenting whenever possible on these posts throughout the New Year! We have over 400 subscribers to these posts. However, responses are so much appreciated otherwise your Blogger wonders whether anyone is actually reading these posts!)