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..

Anaerobic Digestion Community Website