On 1 March 2011, Xergi handed over a new biogas plant to one of Britain's largest vegetable producers at Wrangle, near Boston in Lincolnshire.
The new plant is the first of five biogas plants to receive support from WRAP, the British Waste Recycling Action Programme. Colin Steel, Xergi's Country Manager UK, predicts that the opening of this plant will help expand biogas production in the UK.
"Potential investors in new biogas plants are hesitant and they are keen to ensure that these plants work as they should. There is no doubt that the opening of this plant will help speed up the establishment of new biogas plants in the UK," says Colin Steel. He notes that the new plant has attracted a great deal of interest from the British biogas industry.
He expects that the plant will also strengthen Xergi's position in the British biogas market, where there are many new projects in the pipeline. According to the British website Horticulture Week, there are plans to build more than 30 new biogas plants in the UK.
Waste is converted into energy and fertiliser
Staples Vegetables, as one of the UK's largest privately owned vegetable producers, supplies most of the main supermarkets. Every year the company produces a large quantity of vegetable waste which until recently was of no value to the company.
The biogas plant makes it possible to extract biogas from the waste and use the gas to produce energy in the form of electricity, heat and cooling. The plant will run on vegetable waste and maize silage, and the plant will process a total annual quantity of biomass of approx. 26,000 tons.
The biogas plant has capacity to produce 1.4 MW electricity and is expected to produce just over 11 million kWh electricity a year.
Staples Vegetables itself will use a large proportion of the electricity produced, but the plant will also supply green electricity to the National Grid corresponding to the annual consumption of 1,500 households. Surplus heat from electricity production will be used to heat the company's offices during the winter months, although most will be used to cool the company's warehouses. The cooling system is a heat absorption cooling system, which converts the energy in hot water into cooling.
Xergi has supplied a plant with the most advanced technology, including, for example, new technology to feed the reactor tanks with biomass, and for electronic monitoring and control of the processes inside the plant. The new technologies were a prerequisite to qualify for WRAP funding.
According to plan
Project Manager Steffen Busk Nielsen says that the Xergi project is running entirely according to plan.
The biological processes inside the biogas plant were started up in November 2010. By January, there was sufficient biogas production in the plant to start the plant's gas engine for the first time, which meant that production of electricity and heat could also begin. The absorption cooling system will be commissioned at a later date.