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 letsrecycle.com 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 letsrecycle.com 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 letsrecycle.com 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.
Outputs

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.

Conclusions

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:

http://www.ukwir.org/publishor/system/component_view.asp?logdocid=93032

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 www.anaerobic-digestion.com 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?

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