Saturday, May 28, 2011

UK Biofuel caution is deeply disappointing - FarmersWeekly

Biofuel caution is ‘deeply disappointing’ - 5/18/2011 - Farmers Weekly  
The organisation said the sustainability concerns highlighted in the report were groundless, and it failed to recognise the role that biogas could play in the transport sector.


(Above video champions solar power but what will we do on a cold winter's night with just solar? Also, are we going to miss the AD boat and end up buying solar power from Spain? - Ed)

"Failure to act on replacing dirty diesel with gas in public transport has a detrimental effect on climate change and air quality. Farmers and land managers can help mitigate climate change by enabling biogas to displace fossil fuels," said CLA president William Worsley.

He also called on the government to tackle the investment uncertainty posed for large-scale solar and anaerobic digestion that followed the emergency review of Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) earlier in the spring.

Rural businesses faced losses of more than £1m due to the proposed solar tariff cuts, yet they "collectively hold the keys to the delivery of land-based renewables in both the solar and AD sectors", he said.

"The CLA reluctantly accepts that budget constraints mean payments for large-scale solar must be cut to preserve the FiT budget. Reducing the loss to investors for future projects could be fixed by introducing pre-certification of projects over 50kW, or by putting projects up to 1MW into the under-spent Renewable Obligation budget to help maintain reasonable rates for smaller installations."

Mr Worsley welcomed plans to increase FiT rates for small anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, but argued the proposed rates would make little difference.

"I would like to see a 'manure bonus' to help drive the most sustainable farm-based AD," he added.

View the original article here

New Study Reveals Biogas Plants Will Need 5.5MT of Feedstock

A new study from Enagri has revealed that a combination of announced and operational biogas plants across the UK could need at least 5.5  million tonnes of feedstock by the end of 2013.

The Directory of UK Biogas Plants 2011 will be launched at this year’s Cereals in June 2011and is the first comprehensive survey of  anaerobic digestion (AD) projects in the UK.

Despite concerns about the low uptake of the Feed-in-Tariff by biogas  plants, the study shows there could be around 150 on-farm and  waste-fuelled biogas plants in the country in two years time. There is  also considerable growth and expansion in the utilisation of sewage gas to produce renewable energy at water treatment plants.

An analysis of published information on feedstocks shows large  regional differences, together with the fact that the more than  680,000 tonnes of feedstock a year has not yet been disclosed by developers. Of this, the greatest concentration of unknown fuels is in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Central Scotland.

Energy crops grown specifically for use in digesters account for just 5% of identified feedstock and are most popular in the East Midlands,  while waste from animal husbandry (including slurry, manure and  poultry litter) accounts for around 6%, with the main concentration of developments in Dorset and the South West.

Municipal waste could account for half of all the feedstocks used and there is particularly strong demand for this in the urban North West and the South East. Surprisingly potential demand from projects in Kent could see the county treating the greatest quantity of waste, with demand forecast to reach 750,000 tonnes a year if announced projects go ahead.

“The geographical differences in feedstock are interesting,” says Enagri’s Managing Editor Richard Crowhurst. “They show that, on the whole, developers are looking to build plants which utilise the most abundant feedstock in the region, with some of the biggest municipal waste fuelled plants

In terms of which companies are behind which projects, the picture is less clear. Some companies build and operate plants while others hand over the running to another company. “Biogen Greenfinch is the clear
leader in the UK market,” says Richard. “They have provided, or are providing, technology for 15 plants, although this figure includes seven or eight from Greenfinch before the two companies merged, and the company operates a number of these plants themselves.”

Many companies have pipelines of projects, but due to the difficulties of obtaining planning permission and financing, many are not announced until a formal planning application is submitted. As well as Biogen Greenfinch, Community Renewable Energy North West (CoRE), Future Biogas, Agrivert and Farmgen are forging ahead with new developments. The major technology providers include Edina, Monsal, WELtec BioPower, Biogas Nord and Biogas Hochreiter.

The report includes information on 69 on-farm biogas plants, 83 waste treatment AD plants and lists more than 50 plants in operation at water treatment works.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Exploring the Possibilities of Zero Carbon Britain

The Centre for Alternative Technology has recently published Zero Carbon Britain 2030: a new energy strategy (the 2nd reportof the Zero Carbon Britain Project). I can't recommend this highly enough - the Executive Summary should be on the desk of every Member of Parliament and the leader of every local council. The report can be bought from bookshops, or direct from CAT, or can be dowloaded as a PDF (a very large one!).

The report is the result of collaboration between a wide variety of contributors, across many sectors, and consequently their conclusions are highly authoritative. The report is wide-ranging and demonstrates how - with political will and suitable investment, Britain could indeed become zero-carbon by 2030, and could create new employment and economic activity at the same time.

Biogas firm plans 200-job facility - Toronto Star

Ontario is placing a $16 million bet on a clean water and energy company that plans to set up its global headquarters in the province.

Anaergia Inc. will set up a head office, research and manufacturing facility to produce biogas equipment, which turns products such as sewage sludge and farm waste into energy.


(Above video may not be related to the article.)

The province will provide Anaergia a grant of $8.08 million and a loan of the same amount – interest-free for five years – to help finance the $70 million facility.

Anaergia’s chairman and chief executive Andrew Benedek said the company hasn’t yet decided where to locate the new facility.

It will employ about 200 people once it’s up and running, Benedek said in an interview.

Operating mainly under the name UTS Biogas, the company has operations in Germany, where Benedek says its equipment is used in about 1,600 biogas plants.

It also has operations in California, where Benedek lives.

But he’s still a Canadian citizen, who began his career as a chemical engineer at McMaster University.

Benedek founded Zenon Environmental, a water purification firm, that he eventually sold to GE Power and Water.

German green energy policies then drew him across the Atlantic, and U.S. clean energy programs then drew him to California, he said.

He only recently learned about Ontario’s Green Energy Act when he was invited to sit on an energy advisory panel in the province, Benedek said.

He found the province’s renewable energy policies are very similar to those in Germany. One of them is the province’s feed-in tariff program, which offers steady, above-market prices for power produced from renewable sources.

“Like most Canadians who leave Canada, we tend to forget how good it is here,” he said.

Benedek says there’s plenty of research to do in the biogas sector.

“The industry, in my view, is still in its infancy,” he said. “It has not evolved technologically. I really see an opportunity to become far away the leader of the world,” he said.

“What we want to do is bring the cost down so we can afford to compete with other forms of energy.”

Electricity produced from biogas is priced at 10.4 cents to 19.5 cents a kilowatt hour under current feed-in tariff rates, while the wholesale market price hovers around 4 cents a kilowatt hour.

Anaergia is privately held and doesn’t release financial statements, but Benedek said its annual revenue is about $70 million .

“It’s not a big number, but it’s one of the biggest in this narrow space, and it’s going to be much bigger by the end of this program,” he said.

View the original article here

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Construction Underway on Largest Dairy Biogas Project in North America - News

Camco International Limited (CAO.L), a developer of clean energy projects, has begun construction on the largest dairy biogas project in North America.


(Above video is not related to the post but may be of interest.)
The project, which will be operated by the consortium AgPower Group LLC, involves the installation of anaerobic digesters to convert cow manure at an Idaho dairy farm into enough biogas to fuel 4.5 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.

Construction of the project is expected to cost under $25 million, and it has been fully financed, according to Camco.

The project qualifies for the federal grant program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, under which 30% of eligible construction costs are reimbursed.

A 20-year power purchase agreement is in place and the facility also has multi-year contracts for the Sale of sterilized fiber (an end-product of the anaerobic digestion process). The renewable energy certificates and emission credits qualify under California's new renewable energy and greenhouse gas regulations.

Completion of construction is anticipated in the first half of 2012.

"Closing financing and commencing construction on the largest dairy biogas project in the US is a major achievement for the Camco North America team. The USDA target has outlined potential to roll out anaerobic digesters across 8,000 farms with potential generation of over 1,500 MW in the US and we are in a pole position to lead this effort," Yariv Cohen, Camco President says.

View the original article here

US Santee Cooper Board Contracts In Advance of Construction For 3.2 Mws Renewable Energy With W2e-Organic Power

A recent Eisenmann Biogas Plant
Enough BioEnergy power for 1,600 US homes

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – The Santee Cooper Board of Directors approved contracts yesterday with W2E-Organic Power and BioEnergy Technologies for a total 3.2 megawatts of electricity generated from anaerobic digestion of renewable resources. That is enough electricity to power 1,600 homes. W2E–Organic Power, based in Columbia, has received its state environmental permit and plans to build a 1.6-MW generating station in Columbia that will utilize biogas from food waste, grease and yard waste.
W2E–Organic Power plans to transmit the electricity to Santee Cooper’s transmission grid.
A 3D concept of a new AD Plant

Sumter-based BioEnergy Technologies will utilize pre-consumer food waste, grease, food processing waste and wastewater sludge to generate 1.6 MWs of renewable electricity at a facility planned for Berkeley County. BioEnergy Technologies will deliver the electricity to Santee Cooper through Berkeley Electric Cooperative’s distribution system.

“Santee Cooper is pleased to announce these contracts with South Carolina businesses, which will generate home-grown and renewable electricity for our customers,” said Marc Tye, the utility’s senior vice president of customer service. “Santee Cooper continues to look for practical projects like theseas part of our balanced plan to meet South Carolina’s energy needs with electricity that is reliable, affordable and environmentally protective.”

“Being at the forefront of the organic waste-to-energy movement has certainly been challenging at times,” says CEO Daniel Rickenmann, “But thanks to commitments from folks like McEntire Produce, Pascon Recycling, and Dorado Services and the tireless support of our technology partner EISENMANN Corporation, the W2E-Organic Power waste-to-energy facility in Columbia will soon set the standard for sustainable recycling of organic material in the U.S.”

“BioEnergy Technologies’ vision of producing sustainable, green electricity and transportation fuels will now be realized. Not only will our projects benefit the environment, but they will also spur economic activity and generate jobs for South Carolina. We appreciate Santee Cooper’s commitment to us as we move forward on our biogas plant,” said Greg A. Thompson, CEO of BioEnergyTechnologies.

Both contracts are for 20 years and together take Santee Cooper’s total renewable generation to 187MWs online or under contract, utilizing landfill biogas, solar energy, wind energy, woody biomass and anaerobic digestion. The biggest source is forest waste and other woody biomass, with online and contracted generation totaling 154 MWs. Anaerobic digestion captures methane gas that is produced through the decomposition of organic materials in an airtight container, and uses that methane gas to generate electricity.

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s leader in renewable generation and has been producing Santee Cooper Green Power – a 28-MW portion of its renewable portfolio that is certified according to strict national standards – since September 2001. Certified Green Power is then voluntarily purchased by customers of Santee Cooper and the state’s electric cooperatives at a premium price,with the proceeds fully reinvested in new renewable energy projects.

With state permitting accomplished, W2E–Organic Power could begin delivering power to Santee Cooper within a year. BioEnergy Technologies will begin the permitting process soon and expects to deliver power to Santee Cooper in late 2012.

W2E-Organic Power, LLC is a Columbia, South Carolina-based developer of sustainable renewable energy projects utilizing EISENMANN Corporation’s proven High Solids Anaerobic Digestion (HSAD) technology. In addition to its flagship facility in Columbia, W2E is actively developing six additional projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Gulf Coast regions. Each of these projects is at a different stage of permitting and development.

BioEnergy Technologies, LLC, established by Thompson Construction Group of Sumter, SC, deploys proven European biogas technologies to develop, design, build, own and operate biogas systems throughout the US.

Through its partnership with AAT Biogas of Austria, BioEnergy has combined Thompson Construction Group’s design-build experience with AAT’s 30 year track record of biogas system design. For more information, visit

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, and the state’s largest powerproducer. The ultimate source of electricity for 2 million South Carolinians, Santee Cooper is dedicated to being the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina.

For more information, visit

Monday, May 23, 2011

Anaerobic Digesters in Environmental award for walking area - GO Outdoors

Those who like to go walking in parts of Cumbria other than the Lake District may be interested to learn that an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has gained a green award.


(Our video is not directly rerlated but provides viewers with an idea of what the Arnside and Silverdale area is like.)

Arnside and Silverdale AONB has won an award for its project to convert farm waste into useful fuels such as biogas and fertiliser, using anaerobic digesters, the Westmorland Gazette reports.

It will also see greenhouse gases combined with calcium from milk to create limestone, which will be placed in old quarries.

The scheme impressed a panel including adventurer Ben Fogle and former footballer Gary Neville.

David Askew, an officer at the AONB, said: "The whole team are delighted and surprised to have been successful."

Those heading for the Arnside and Silverdale AONB can enjoy areas of limestone scenery, as well as wildlife such as red squirrels.

Located just south of the Lake District, it covers 75 sq km and also includes coastal habitat.

View the original article here

Sunday, May 22, 2011

EnviTec Biogas reports positive business performance for 2010 - Your Renewable News (press release)

The manufacturer of biogas plants Envitec Biogas improved its sales revenues from quarter to quarter and generated EUR 47.7 million in the last three months of 2010, which is a record in the company’s history.


Total sales revenues increased by 23.4% from EUR 119.9 million to EUR 148.0 million. The company’s international activities showed a particularly positive trend, with sales from the construction of biogas plants abroad rising from EUR 21.2 million to EUR 43.7 million in the past fiscal year. This represents an increase by 106.1%. International sales accounted for 31.8% of total Group sales, up from 17.7% in the previous year. EnviTec Biogas reported a turnaround in earnings and generated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 1.0 million (previous year: EUR -0.5 million). A better result was prevented by non-recurrent effects of EUR 3.4 million in the Plant Construction segment. The Group’s net income for the year climbed from EUR 1.3 million to EUR 2.3 million, while earnings per share rose from EUR 0.08 to EUR 0.15.

EnviTec will continue to expand its Own Plant Operation activities in the future, which generate high margins. The company intends to take biogas plants with an electrical output of roughly 12 MW into service in 2011 and 2012 each, which will more than double the existing
capacity. EnviTec has obtained the first approvals for its own biogas plants in Italy. Construction of the first plants could commence before the end of 2011, as soon as the necessary project loans have been raised.

Source: Renewable Energy Industry

View the original article here

Friday, May 20, 2011

Europeans keen on palm oil biomass projects in Malaysia - Power-Gen Worldwide

KUALA LUMPUR: It appears to be a case of communication breakdown.

European investors are lining up money to fund biomass projects in Malaysia but the local oil palm plantation industry doesn't seem to know this.


(We were unable to find a video about Malaysian Palm Oil Energy production, however, we did find this very interesting video about a program in Thailand.)

According to the European Union (EU)-Malaysia Biomass Sustainable Production Initiative (Biomass-SP), an EU-led industry body, there are 10 investors keen to fund biomass projects where plantation wastes like fruit bunches are used to produce electricity,

"These investors from France, Ireland, the UK, Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong have approached me. Some of these investors have at least RM40 million to RM50 million set aside (for biomass power plant projects) but the problem is, I don't have any projects to show them," Biomass-SP technical adviser Datuk Leong Kin Mun told Business Times in an interview recently.


The appeal of renewable energy plants is well documented. The plants are friendlier to the environment and a lot cheaper to run over the long term as their fuel, unlike natural gas or coal, are virtually free. Owners can get such plants certified as good for the environment and sell the papers, known as carbon credits, on a climate exchange.

Leong said most of the investors were from the EU and very keen on funding anaerobic-digeston projects, where gas from fermented wastes is trapped and used as fuel, and could invest about RM3 million to RM4 million per venture.

But the industry has not heard about Biomass-SP. Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron believed that many palm oil millers would be interested to partner these green investors but believed that many are not in the know about their existence.

"We are definitely looking for opportunities. Everyone has money. We are looking for opportunities with or without banks' support. So my advice to them is to do their homework and spread the word around," he added.

But Leong said businessmen in Malaysia, especially those who own palm oil mills, have low-risk appetite when it comes to investing in biogas projects as they are afraid that the investment will disrupt the day-to-day running of their palm oil plantation, while the rest is not interested.

"Unless the government comes up with some sort of policy, I am afraid that the biogas project would remain an unpopular venture among the palm oil millers," he said.

Renewable energy is in line with the country's overall policy to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and increase the use of renewable resources in its energy-generation capacity to 2,000 megawatts (MW) in 2020.

Leong said the palm oil industry, being the country's major plantation crop with a total of 417 palm oil mills and plantations, covering 4 million hectares of land, holds the key role to meeting such objective.

Apart from generating electricity from solid wastes like empty fruit bunches and palm kernel shell, power generation can also be achieved through the capture of palm oil mill effluent (POME) biogas.

"Based on fresh fruit bunch yield in 2009, an estimated 57.42 million tonnes (1607.76 million m3) of POME are produced annually. In terms of total power generation capacity, this translates into potential power output capacity of 261.1 megawatts.

"At the current rate of 21sen/ kWh Tenaga Nasional (Bhd) is buying renewable energy, the potential of electricity sales is worth RM394.8 million. Upon implementation of the feed-in tariff system, the higher renewable energy purchase price could be an added incentive for palm oil millers to convert their POME biogas to electricity," he added.

View the original article here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GE to Showcase Biogas Technology for EPA, US Farmers - IEWY News

EPA’s National AgSTAR Conference in Boise, Idaho, Highlights Growing Farm Use of Digesters with GE’s Jenbacher Biogas Engines to Produce Renewable Energy while Reducing Emissions


Bio Town Ag Operation in Indiana and Dane County “Cow Power” Facility in Wisconsin Among GE Biogas Projects to be Showcased

BOISE, IDAHO——With the environmental impacts of agricultural activities coming under greater scrutiny, Bio Town Ag in Indiana and a community “cow power” project in Dane County, Wis., are among a growing number of U.S. farms to install anaerobic digesters and GE’s (NYSE: GE) Jenbacher biogas engines to recycle livestock wastes into renewable electricity that is used to support onsite farm operations and rural transmission grids.

GE is showcasing its ecomagination-approved Jenbacher biogas engine technology at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual AgSTAR national conference in Boise, Idaho, May 10-12, 2011. Created by the EPA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, AgSTAR promotes the installation of digesters to convert livestock waste and other agricultural biomass into methane-rich, renewable biogas. As a result, less methane is available to escape into the atmosphere.

“Biogas production systems are becoming increasingly important tools in helping farms reduce their on-site emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide,” said Roger George, general manager North America gas engines for GE Power & Water. “As federal and state governments work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase local renewable energy production, we expect even more farms across the country to install biogas to energy systems to help meet their operational and environmental requirements.”

In addition to reducing onsite emissions, agricultural biogas projects can help farmers comply with more stringent local water quality standards. By capturing agricultural wastes for biogas production, farmers can avoid the need to dispose these materials on their lands. As a result, lower levels of various biomass contaminants can potentially escape into nearby rivers, lakes and ponds.

GE’s biogas engine technology continues to be deployed at some of the country’s most innovative agricultural biogas projects, including the Bio Town Ag project in Indiana and a recently completed, multi-farm digester project in Dane County, Wis.:

Bio Town Ag community digester biogas project, Indiana:

Featuring three, 1-megawatt (MW) Jenbacher JMS 320 generator sets, Bio Town Ag marks GE’s so far largest U.S. agricultural biogas-to-energy project. The project also is the first to combine GE’s Jenbacher gen-set technology with advanced digester technology supplied by GHD, Inc., the largest U.S. supplier of agricultural anaerobic digesters.

Bio Town Ag is a livestock farm with 4,500 beef cattle and 800 sow swine, located in Reynolds, Ind., a corn, soybean, dairy and swine farming region that was previously dubbed “Bio Town USA” by Indiana’s governor. The farm is developing a 3.1-MW digester biogas-to-energy plant powered by GE’s Jenbacher engines to transform its livestock manure into renewable energy. Bio Town Ag also plans to recover solids for bedding, convert post-digestion liquids into fertilizer and recycle water for on-site uses.

“Our digester biogas-to-energy project is a centerpiece of Indiana’s efforts to showcase the various technologies that are available to help us recycle our agricultural biomass resources and produce renewable fuel for vehicles and cleaner electricity for our state and country,” said Brian Furrer, Bio Town Ag president and CEO.

“GHD is proud to be involved in the BioTown Ag project, which will bring a true community anaerobic digester to fruition,” said Steve Dvorak, president of Chilton, Wis.-based GHD.

“The digester will process farm waste, as well as wastes from the surrounding community, to produce renewable electricity on a local scale. This project creates jobs, provides social benefits for the community and generates additional, viable business opportunities for agriculture.”

Dane County community dairy farm “cow power” project, Wisconsin:

Three family-run dairy farms in Dane County are participating in Wisconsin’s first “cluster” manure-digester project located near Waunakee. The project was launched by the county in 2010 under a “Clean Energy and Clean Lakes Resolution” to build a community digester.

Wisconsin-based biogas energy developer Clear Horizons LLC built, owns and operates the project. A total of 2,500 cows are supplying the manure, which is collected in three, 1.25 million gallon digesters. The biomass is converted into methane-rich biogas, which is then used by two, 1-MW Jenbacher JMC 320 gen-sets to generate renewable electricity that is sold to Alliant Energy under Wisconsin’s renewable portfolio standard.

In addition to renewable energy production, Dane County’s initiative is the first U.S. community digester specifically built to help farmers reduce biomass run-offs into surrounding freshwater bodies. Dane County’s digester removes much of the phosphorus from the livestock waste that had been linked to algae overgrowth in the Lake Mendota watershed.

“One of the keys to implementing successful biomass to energy projects is to work with technology partners like GE that have the expertise to offer cost-effective solutions that help projects optimize their rate of return ,” said Dan Nemke, general manager for Clear Horizons, which has installed Jenbacher engines for previous U.S. farm-to-energy projects.

Between its creation in 1993 and 2010, more than 160 manure digester projects have been installed in the United States with the AgSTAR program’s assistance. Opportunities for more agricultural digester-energy projects still exist at more than 8,000 U.S. livestock facilities, according to AgSTAR.

Many of GE’s Jenbacher products are ecomagination approved, providing customers with products that improve their operating performance and reduce environmental impact. Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to help meet customers’ demand for products that improve their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment. This also will drive growth for GE that delivers for its investors. Ecomagination reflects GE’s commitment to invest in a future that creates innovative solutions to environmental challenges. From 2010 to 2015, GE has committed to: doubling R&D to $ 10 billion; growing ecomagination revenues twice as fast as overall company revenue; reducing GE’s energy intensity 50 percent; reducing water consumption 25 percent; and inspiring a competitive energy future.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas—work together with more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.

View the original article here

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nairobi, Kenya - Experts sound the alarm over poor quality biogas plants

A biogas plant
Business Daily - Kenya: By NGONDI MBURU, Posted  Tuesday, April 5 2011 at 00:00

Experts are warning against inappropriate biogas plant installations being carried out by donor-funded organisations throughout the country, saying some are of low quality and unsuitable for farmers.

“Some of these plants are just enough to cook three meals per day on a single burner. They cannot be used for lighting,” said Mr Stanley Chepkwony, a biogas technical consultant.

The facilities, which cost about Sh100,000 to install, are permanent fixtures which cannot be expanded in future if the farmer sees the need.

Construction costs involve creating a digester, piping system, kitchen work, and other accessories.

“This is something permanent. Once constructed you cannot later demolish it. It can last up to 30 or 50 years,” said Mr Chepkwony.

Development of the Anaernobic Digestion energy is expected to reduce pressure on the country’s depleted forest cover.

He said that farmers who later find out that the biogas plants do not meet their needs are forced to build fresh ones, which is expensive.

“We have received several complaints from the field and we have constructed bigger plants for some of the farmers, which is proving very expensive for them,” said Mr Chepkwony who works with the Private Sector Development in Agriculture.

The small plants, which range between four and 12 cubic metres, are being constructed by government and donor funded organisation.

About 700 such plants have been build throughout the country.

“These people are not informing farmers properly on the size of the biogas plants. They just want the farmers to have the plants installed,” said Mr Richard Karani, a biogas economist and consultant.

Enough energy

The Private Sector Development in Agriculture has constructed 650 plants, which range from 12 to 124 cubic metres, across the country.

The large capacity plants can produce enough energy to run engines, chuff cutters, lighting, and even household items like fridges in addition to cooking.

Before construction, farmers are advised to inquire on the capacity of the plants in relation to the number of animals they have and their future projections.

This ensures that they receive plants that meet their current and future needs.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anaerobic Digestion - Realising the Potential: Removing the Barriers

CIWEM - CMS Conference 28th June 2011, SOAS London

Programme and booking  
Please forward to colleagues who may be interested

Anaerobic digestion clearly has a really strong future. Charlotte Morton CEO of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association will be presenting on what this vision looks like. Key points will include:

    * AD from the bigger, integrated perspective - energy, waste and water
    * Just what is the potential for AD technology?
    * The drivers and innovation from an international, European and UK level
    * The developing technologies and the opportunities that these provide
    * How can UK plc and its companies best unlock this potential?

The aim of this conference is to explore key issues concerning the future of anaerobic digestion in the context of the Government’s objectives, the country’s need, the water sector’s capacity, the waste sector’s interests and in particular to explore with regulators and what can be done to unlock this potential and remove the barriers to co-digestion.

The main conference themes are:

   1. The new paradigm:  What does a really ambitious vision for anaerobic digestion in the context of the water, waste and energy sectors look like?
   2. To understand the Government’s position and policy context of their work – Defra (but also covering DECC’s work)
   3. To understand a waste perspective on AD and co-digestion     
   4. To understand the Ofwat position on anaerobic digestion and energy generation and their position on co-digestion 
   5. To understand a water industry view on the future of anaerobic digestion [improvements in performance from new technologies] and in particular the issues with co-digestion
   6. To understand what co-digestion involves in practice –what happens when this is
   7. Anaerobic digestion and co-digestion: Barriers and Incentives  - next  steps   

This conference is seeking to bring the water and wider AD and waste sector together to look at the key issues

Sponsors to date: MWH   WRc

If you would like to sponsor this conference please contact Lauren Goozee at CIWEM on or ring on 0207 831 3110

Book Now
You can book a place for this conference online by visiting

You can also download the programme and email or post the completed booking form to
We issue receipts and invoices as our standard response.
We can also take bookings over the phone with a credit card - ring 01531 890415.

More information on CIWEM events at 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Decentralized Modular Power Plants and Biogas CHP Cogeneration

2G-CENERGY CHP produces much improved energy
Projects on the Rise in North America

Orange Park, FL - May 7th 2011

Cogeneration is the environmentally-friendly, economically-sensible way to produce power, simultaneously saving significant amounts of money and also dramatically reducing total greenhouse gas emissions. 2G’s concept of smaller modular combined heat and power plants for decentralized energy production, especially biogas and natural gas fueled, is leading the way in North America.

While the biogas market in Europe is well-developed, it has taken longer for the industry to gain a foothold in North America. However, the number of decentralized power plants is increasing, and new biogas project announcements suggest the U.S. is finally ready to catch up with other industrialized markets.

In January 2010, 2G-CENERGY Power Systems Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based manufacturer of highefficiency biogas-and natural gas energy conversion systems, jointly owned by 2G Bio-Energy Technologies in Germany (2G Bio-Energietechnik AG, publically traded at the Frankfurt stock exchange), and its North American management, announced the company plans to focus largely on the developing biogas market in the United States.

"We've been the market leader in Europe for many years but really saw a great growth opportunity in North America," said Michael Turwitt, 2G-CENERGY president and chief executive officer. The company uses a modular CHP and cogeneration technology that converts biogas and other gaseous fuels into valuable electrical as well as thermal energy. The result is a renewable energy production, environmentally friendly, very economical, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The technology is applied in combination with all types of anaerobic digesters (agricultural and organic waste streams), at landfills, and in combination with methane generating waste water treatment facilities. To date, 2G’s technology has been utilized in more than 1500 biogas projects in Europe, and many other locations in various industrialized countries. In North America the company successfully commissioned plants in Washington State, Wisconsin, Ontario, and is in the process of installing its advanced modular CHP technologies in Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, Texas, and in Mississippi. Additional projects are forthcoming in Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, and in Ohio.

Most recently in Mississippi, Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority located in Pontotoc decided to purchase a modern 2G biogas power plant, a 1.3 million $ investment, for their landfill facility. In April EMG in Pennsylvania awarded 2G-CENERGY with an order to supply a high efficiency biogas CHP (combined heat and power) cogeneration plant for EMG’s anaerobic fluidized-bed digester technology to be installed at a large brewery in New York.

Instead of the conventional design-build, or site-build process, 2G customers always decide for a 100% modular “all-in-one” and “connection-ready” cogeneration system to save cost and to reduce technical risk. The cogeneration process results in overall electrical and thermal efficiencies close to 90%, compared to most utility power plants operating in the 33% percent efficiency range. 2G’s systems are an integrated package, fully containerized and are supplied as a unique “all-in-one” and “connection-ready” modules. Benefits over conventional gas engine gensets (often wrongly compared with CHP systems) include much higher overall efficiency, reliability, durability, extended life, fast installation, and less maintenance cost.

Biogas projects have continued to gain traction in Europe, as well. On May 2nd 2G published their 2010 results. 2G-Bio-Energietechnik AG has again exceeded expectations for its revenue and earnings. After having already doubled its sales in the previous year, 2G achieved further Group-wide revenue growth of 79.7% in 2010. The 2011 outlook remains very optimistic and the solid uptrend in new orders is unbroken. The current order book position comprises 251 CHP systems entailing a total order value of around 86 Million US$, a level well ahead of the previous year.

The 2G Group's strategic orientation continues to make great advances this year, not least due to the last few years' highly positive trend. Christian Grotholt, CEO of the 2G Group, commented on the company's further plans as follows: “Our expansion into markets outside Germany and Europe, as well as into the USA, has proved correct to date. We aim to expand our position through tapping further growth regions, and thereby also reduce our dependence on individual markets in a targeted manner. The German market nevertheless remains of outstanding importance for us. The energy-efficient deployment of natural gas CHPs will also become increasingly significant.”

In the Management Board's opinion, the heightening of international awareness of the entire regenerative energy sector will also open up tangible potential for combined heat and power (CHP) generation. While debate addresses topics such as a lack of capacities in terms of energy storage systems and power lines, for instance, CHP technology, including biogas fueled power generation, represents the only truly decentralized solution for a balanced energy mix.

Vist their web site at:

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Going green with biogas - Jakarta Post

Trisha Sertori, Contributor, Payangan, Bali | Tue, 05/03/2011 9:49 PM | Life
The green movement is taking hold around the globe. 


People are choosing to “go green” by taking their own shopping bags to supermarkets, others leave the car at home and bike to work, saving on emissions and getting healthy into the bargain.

Then there are the myriad of businesses who see having a green logo stamped on their products ups sales — green is a good business move.

But most of these actions are thought to take place amid the urban, the well informed and socially conscious; few guess that in villages going green at the grassroots is a way of life. And it is because of the grassroots nature of agricultural families that the disconnect between the earth and chemical fertilizer impact on the soil is so closely realized.

Since September 2010 people of one Bali village have been rolling up their sleeves and getting down and dirty in their return to organic farming with a side benefit of free methane gas supplying their homes.

“Here in Desa Kerta we wanted to go organic because we learned that people got sick from chemicals. In our past we didn’t use chemicals as fertilizer and people didn’t get sick, so our village is moving to being totally organic,” says Subak (irrigation managers) head Nyoman Suardana of the village of Penyabangan in Bali.

The village’s decision to go organic opened the door to the new technology of making their own biogas from the waste of pigs and cattle raised to produce organic fertilizer for their rice fields and gardens.

In the back yard of Suardana’s modest home, a dozen pigs of varying ages are busily making the methane gas that fuels the stove in his kitchen with unlimited free gas, that Suardana says is non-explosive.

They are also unwittingly creating the valuable fertilizer that this rice farmer believes will improve his rice yield within three years.

The system is simple, waste from the pigs is harvested, mixed with water to form a slurry that passes underground through a set of tanks.

The natural way: The pigs at the heart of the biogas operation offer organic fertilizer, methane gas for cooking and can be sold at a profit.The central tank collects the methane produced from the waste which is then piped into Suardana’s home. In the final septic tank the slurry overflows, is dried and returned to the soil, a closed system that now everyone in his village of 42 homes has invested in.

“I became interested in biogas because the LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] canisters can explode. We see that on TV a lot and that concerned us greatly. Also the price of LPG is going up all the time. We felt that with the LPG canisters you need to be always checking if they are in good condition, we always had to be aware and we were frightened, but with methane it does not explode — if pressure builds up it is released into the air and it’s natural so it does no damage,” says Suardana.

He points out implementing biogas systems and organic faming in his community faced no difficulty because, “our water is still clean, people are not allowed to throw rubbish and plastics into our rivers — we have a fine of Rp 100,000 — so the area is clean.

This comes down to our Subak and Awig Awig being strong and still very active,” says Suardana of the role Subak and Awig Awig [traditional laws] play in protecting the environment.

Up the road a kilometer is the home and organic garden of Ketut Suweno. His garden is laden with oranges, papaya, bananas and coconuts that earn him top dollar as organic produce.

A dozen healthy cattle supply all the fertilizer needed in this veritable garden of Eden, they also supply the 10 cubic meters of methane gas that feeds two families with free gas daily.

Wonders of nature : Literally up to his knees in it, this worker harvests slurry from cattle to fertilize organic gardens after the methane has been piped off to fuel the home’s stove.The positive impact on the lives of people since the introduction of biogas is witnessed in the reduced workload for people like Suweno’s 80-year-old grandmother Ni Wayan Bondol.

“In the past I was not brave enough to light the [LPG] gas stove. I was traumatized by gas because it explodes. Now with biogas I am happy to light the stove and cook. It’s safe and easy. In the past I only cooked on wood fires. Because I was afraid of the LPG exploding, I had to search each morning for firewood in the forest to cook the evening meal, then I had in the afternoon to again hunt for wood to cook the breakfast,” says this elderly woman who now has time to rest.

A local cooperative assists families with the loans of about Rp six million to build their own biogas systems, loans that Suardana says can be repaid from the savings on gas and chemical fertilizer purchases.

“When you look at the money side — you can’t see how much you save, but when you do the figures we see we have the money to reinvest into buying more pigs, these we sell and we don’t pay for gas and fertilizer, so once the loan to build the system is repaid we see we are better off financially,” says Suardana.

His Subak team, with six members trained under the HIVOS foundation (Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation) from Holland with its on the ground wing, the BIRU Foundation (Biogas Rumah Tangah) is now introducing biogas to other nearby villages.

“We are now looking at helping other villages, such as Puhu, to also have their own biogas and organic systems. But the skill share is coming from here [Penyabangan] as we have six people trained in this and certificated by HIVOS,” says Suardana of the quiet achievements being made in environmental protection at the very grassroots of society.

“We want to see this technology introduced Bali wide. This was a test project and it’s very successful. The Governor calls for Bali to be ‘Clean and Green’ — we farmers also want that very much.”

View the original article here

Friday, May 06, 2011

Safety Solutions Tailored to Biogas Plants - Biomass Power and Thermal

In late 2009, a study carried out by the Commission for Plant Safety of the German Federal Environment Ministry revealed critical defects in more than 60 percent of biogas facilities inspected. The study inspectors, which also included TÜV SÜD experts, detected weaknesses not only in the gas and ventilation systems, and regarding explosion protection, but also in component design, structural engineering and organizational measures.

This result confirms that stakeholders in practice still tend to underestimate the scope of required safety measures. Ensuring the safe operation of biogas facilities requires consideration of questions related to the gas, the electrical and the pressure systems. Other significant issues are related to fire safety and lightning protection, and to the layout and planning of escape routes and emergency response plans. Potential hazards to health and the environment also need to be limited.

Responsibility Rests with the Operator

Biogas plants process large quantities of combustible and toxic gases which pose increased fire, explosion or suffocation hazards in case of faults in design, materials or control. In the event of an incident at the plant, people may be injured, property damaged and the environment (air and water) polluted.

In this context, the operators of biogas plants have a high level of responsibility: Their duties include conducting the necessary inspections, ensuring safety and health documentation of sufficient explosion protection and expert training of employees. Operators violating these duties risk that the operation of their plants is no longer in compliance with the law, which may result in a shutdown of the plant and in restriction or even loss of insurance coverage.

Targeted Safety Assessment

Generally, agricultural biogas plants comprise a reception pit for collecting and preparing the slurry, a fermenter in which the biogas is produced, a final digestate storage tank and a combined-heat-and-power (CHP) unit in which the biogas is converted into electricity.

Biogas consists of methane (50 to 80 percent), carbon dioxide (20 to 50 percent), hydrogen sulphide (0.01 to 0.4 percent) and traces of ammonia, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon monoxide. The constituents of ammonium and hydrogen sulphide are two aggressive chemicals that are constantly in contact with the tank walls, pipes and valves. Given this, the materials used for these components need to be highly resistant to chemicals and maintain this resistance over long periods.

The lower explosion limit (LEL) of methane is 4.4 percent, the upper explosion limit 16.5 percent. In combination with the oxygen in the air, methane concentration in this range can produce an explosive gas mixture. These explosions can cause severe ecological damage, serious injuries to people and damage to property. To ensure effective explosion protection, the gas sensors in the plant should be adjusted to 20 percent of the LEL, equivalent to methane concentration of 0.88 percent.

Carbon dioxide causes dizziness in concentrations between 1 and 5 percent, and rapidly leads to suffocation in concentrations of over 9 percent. People should not be exposed to concentrations higher than 30 to 100 parts per million. Hydrogen sulphide is particularly hazardous. It is perceived as disagreeable at a concentration of 50 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). Concentrations of 150 mg/m3 cause irritation of mucous membranes. And at levels over 500 mg/m3, hydrogen sulphide causes olfactory paralysis and is fatal within minutes.

Apart from suffocation, fire and explosion hazards, leakage of fermentation substrates into water as a result of an incident in a biogas plant may cause severe environmental pollution. In view of the fact that the composition of liquid substrates is hard to control, operators face the challenge of having to dispose of the liquid digestate cost-effectively while also ensuring groundwater protection. As the digestate contains large quantities of water, transportation over long distances does not make good economic sense. Instead, local disposal should be given preference wherever possible.

Individual Assessment

The following applies to agriculture in particular: no two biogas plants are the same. As the responsibility rests with the operators, they must have precise knowledge of the specific requirements applying to their plants and must be able to assess possible hazards in accordance with the applicable laws, which in Germany include the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Hazardous Substances Ordinance.

Operators must ensure systematic implementation of these occupational health and safety measures. The plant operators must also create an explosion protection document which comprehensively assesses the explosion hazards. An important factor in this context is that the room in which the plant is installed is considered an explosion hazard zone, unless the gas-carrying parts of the plant, including the gas extraction elements and the CHP unit, are permanently technically leak proof in service.

Gas storage tanks with flexible membrane roofs or storage bags must undergo direct leak testing. The pressure applied in this test should be at least 1.5 times the maximum operating pressure or equivalent to the preset value at which the pressure-relief valve opens, whichever of the two values is the higher. It is important that the gas storage tank is appropriately gas-tight and resistant to pressure, chemical media, ultraviolet radiation, temperature and weather influences.

Protection equipment (suitability, wiring) and the planning of the structure and technical systems (material selection and design) must be customized to the specific plant and inspected at regular intervals. Extraction systems, also those installed outside the biogas plant, reliably prevent incidents such as leaking of toxic gases.

Safety and Efficiency

Frequently, comprehensive hazard assessment also helps to uncover hidden potential for savings in the operation of a biogas plant. The objective is to realize the best possible plant design within the framework defined by ordinances, standards and technical rules. By doing so, operators can assess the efficiency and competitiveness of their existing plants more precisely on the one hand, while gaining valuable information for possible future extensions or modernizations on the other.

In this type of systematic assessment, organizational measures are increasingly joining aspects of technical safety in the focus of attention. However, in agricultural biogas plants, organizational measures have frequently not yet been given sufficient emphasis. In the case of an incident at the plant, weaknesses in escape and rescue routes and in the emergency preparedness and response plans of the plant in particular may jeopardize human life.

Emergency response plans first include basic rules on how to behave in the case of a fire (publicly displayed notice). Second, they must establish concrete instructions for all employees on site, addressing measures such as fire prevention and what to do in the case of a fire.

To ensure an effective alarm system, the sensors of automatic gas and fire detectors must be correctly positioned, calibrated, wired and serviced. Practical tests of the alarm systems and emergency drills with staff are imperative in this context. Ensuring that the alarm signals will actually reach all people on the premises is critical in this context.

When planning escape and rescue routes, special attention must be paid to the transition areas between rooms and buildings. Lockable doors in escape routes must be equipped with a specific mechanism ensuring that the door can be opened from the inside even if locked. Manually operated doors must always open in the direction of escape. In addition, steps must be taken to ensure that emergency lighting is both independent from the main supply and explosion-proof (in line with the relevant ATEX zone) and that emergency routes are sign-posted throughout.

Discussing and coordinating the rescue and escape plans with the local fire service is also highly advisable. During plant operation it is imperative that the escape routes are kept free from blockage by objects. This applies all the more as all material stored there may increase the fire loads.


In addition to a detailed and comprehensive occupational health and safety program, the operators of biogas plants must also increasingly focus on system-related and organizational safety measures. The task at hand is to find the ideal plant solution in terms of safety and cost-
effectiveness, while ensuring compliance with ordinances, laws and regulations. TÜV SÜD's experts have long-standing experience in the assessment and inspection of biogas plants and advise operators on plant optimization.

Authors: Johannes Steiglechner
Combustion Systems and Heat Engineering, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH
Volker Schulz
Biogas Centre of Competence, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH
+49 (0) 89 5190-1027

View the original article here

(UK implementation is under the DSEAR. See for UK Gas Safety Regulations Compliance assistance. - Editor)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sime, TNB and Mitsui to study biogas potential at palm oil mills - Malaysia Star (blog)

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd, a unit of Sime Darby Bhd, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia's national power producer, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), and Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsui & Co Ltd to conduct a feasibility study on the potential of biogas projects at eight of its palm oil mills spread across Peninsular Malaysia.

The two-year study will involve the technical feasibility, financial viability and undertaking the necessary preliminary development works for implementation of potential biogas power-generation projects.


(Video not related to text.)

“It is a timely study because today the world continues to grapple with the issue of depleting sources of energy and environmental protection,” Sime Darby Plantation executive vice-president Franki Anthony Dass said in his speech.

 ?It is a timely study because today the world continues to grapple with the issue of depleting sources of energy and environmental protection? FRANKI ANTHONY DASS
“We are confident that the result of the study would be positive and that the three parties would come out of the feasibility study with the proper data to generate electricity at our palm oil mills and further strengthen their green credentials.”

If results of the study show commercial viability, TNB will assist in connectivity of the green power generated to the national grid as well as operations and maintenance expertise, while Mitsui will contribute towards technical design and carbon financing.

Sime Darby Plantation, on the other hand, will provide plant sites through the palm oil mills it operates. According to Dass, by then, biogas production for power generation will no longer be constrained in the eight mills involved in the feasibility study, but also in other mills belonging to the company.

Sime Darby Plantation currently has 62 palm oil mills, of which 40 are in Malaysia and the rest in Indonesia.

“The development of renewable energy projects, such as that of biogas, is timely as it contributes towards the Government's aspirations,” TNB chief operation officer Datuk Ir Azman Mohd explained.

At present, the renewable energy industry is still at its infancy stage in Malaysia, contributing less than 1% to the country's total energy mix. But the Government has recently outlined its plan to have renewable energy generating about 5.5%, or 985 megawatt (MW), of the total electricity generated in the country by 2015, and to eventually increase that to 11%, or 2,080MW, by 2020.

TNB, being a front-runner in the renewable energy in the country, has thus far signed 21 renewable energy power-purchase agreements, which account for a total capacity of 291MW, in the country.

View the original article here

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Turning waste into compost the modern way - Malaysia Star

When properly handled, waste from gardens, kitchens and farms can give us compost and biogas.

EVERY day, some staffers of the Malaysian Nuclear Agency in Bangi, Selangor, can be seen lugging three-litre thermal food containers ? the type commonly used by nasi lemak sellers to keep rice warm to work. No, it is not their packed lunch inside but something entirely different: leftover food from home.


(Above video may or may not be related to the Cowtech system referred to in the article.)

Research officer Shyful Azizi Abd Rahman had requested that his 50 colleagues in the agrotechnology and bioscience division bring him the food scraps instead of junking them. He even provides them with the containers to make it convenient and, of course, less messy.

All the waste goes into a 60kg composting machine which Shyful is testing out. The Cowtech Composting & Biogas Production Machine breaks down organic waste with the help of bacteria to yield nutrient-rich compost and biogas, an energy source. For the past six months, Shyful has been feeding the machine all kinds of organic discards in order to assess its efficiency, biogas production and the quality of the compost.

"We first tried agricultural waste but the methane is low. We switched to food waste, and the biogas production is very high, about five to six litres a day", he says.

Organic waste, such as those from farms and kitchens, forms some three-quarters of our waste stream and has always been troublesome. Wet and smelly, it also emits methane when degrading in airtight landfills. Composting is one way to treat organic waste but when done traditionally, will take months. Now, new technologies are being introduced to speed up the process and Cowtech is one of them.

Developed in Thailand over 10 years ago, the technology was introduced here last year by CH Green. Company chief executive officer Ang Lee Kaw says unlike other composting machine which yields only compost, the Cowtech system allows the tapping of biogas generated from waste decomposition as well.

The technology has found favour among several local companies which have had to grapple with disposal of organic waste from landscaping work, food production, staff canteens and agriculture.

Smaller carbon footprint

In the Cowtech system, waste is composted anaerobically (without oxygen) inside the composting machine. Methanogenic bacteria (inoculated into the machine during manufacture) break down the waste into compost, while releasing biogas which is typically made up of methane (50% to 70%), carbon dioxide (24% to 50%), hydrogen sulphide (3% or so) and small amounts of nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.

The biogas is piped through a scrubber containing iron wool to filter out most of the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide (which is corrosive), leaving behind a 60% content of methane. This is good enough for direct heating (in stoves and lamps) and in a gen-set to generate electricity. (To use biogas in vehicles, the methane content must reach 80%).

After a retention time of some 15 days, you can harvest the resulting compost, a sludgy slurry (because of high moisture content in food waste,) rich in nutrients welcomed by plants and soil.

The 60kg/day Cowtech composting machine at the Malaysian Nuclear Agency is more for trial runs to assess the technology.

More importantly, the system prevents emission of methane from organic waste dumped in landfills. ?We keep the methane and use it, such as for cooking,? says Ang. ?Flaring (burning) methane is better than releasing it into the air as it has 21 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide.?

The beauty of the Cowtech system, according to Ang and Shyful, is that it uses little energy. When waste is fed into the machine, the motor needs to run for only about 20 minutes for the mixing. After that, the bacteria get down to work. The machine is turned on only at the next feeding. If there is no electricity, there is a crank to manually churn the waste. Ang calculates the electricity consumption of a 100kg a day machine to be a mere RM1.40.

?You don?t want a system that needs electricity, he says. ?Long hours of heating defeat the purpose of reducing greenhouse gases.?

The system is self-sustaining, he adds, as the digesting bacteria requires no top-up because of the continuous operation. He says in some composting machines, you have to constantly replenish the micro-organisms and maintain a high temperature by heating.

Ang says the Cowtech machine works best at temperatures of around 30?C; so the machine should preferably be placed in or near open shade. The digestion process slows down during wet days and at lower temperatures. He assures us of the safety of the system. ?Biogas is light, so it quickly disperses if leaked. The pressure of the tank is under 2psi, so it will not explode. It is not like LPG (liquid petroleum gas, the normal household cooking gas) which is kept at high pressure and compressed.?

Another safety feature is the water jacket (a layer of water that surrounds the fermentation chamber); any leaked gas will just bubble through the water. An alarm will trigger in the event of a gas leak.


Shyful sees promise in the technology as it not only prevents methane discharges but reduces waste at source.

It works well in our warm climate and should be encouraged here. We will try to promote it in critical areas of waste management such as markets and hawker centres, so that waste is managed properly in these places.?

He says the Science, Technology And Innovation Ministry intends to place the machine at some 30 sites, such as in flats, residential areas, food courts and markets, and the community will be trained to run the machine. The first site will be at a market in Tangkak, Johor. The 150kg or so discarded daily will be composted and the gas piped to several hawker stalls.

?The traders now pay daily for waste collection ... this will reduce their waste management costs,? says Shyful.

From his trial runs on the machine, he has figured out areas requiring attention: a better filter, design improvements and better gas storage tank. The tank is important ? it acts as a buffer as gas production fluctuates during decomposition.

As for which composting method is preferable, aerobic (degradation with oxygen) or anaerobic (degradation without oxygen), Shyful says it all depends on the purpose. ?If you want to produce only compost, then use an aerobic digester as composting is quicker. To produce biogas, you need an anaerobic digester.?

The Cowtech system costs from RM39,000 for a 10kg unit to RM235,000 for a 500kg one. Many find this daunting but Ang says one could exploit the Government?s incentive for green technology.

?Under the Accelerated Capital Allowance for Environmental Management, companies using environmental protection equipment are eligible for an initial allowance of 40% and an annual allowance of 20% on the qualifying capital expenditure. The full amount can be written off within three years.?

Ang is hopeful that such fiscal support will encourage more Malaysian companies to compost their waste instead of dumping it. He says in Thailand, the technology has enabled hotels, hospitals, canteens, food outlets, hypermarkets, municipal markets, farms and factories to be responsible for their own waste.

The Baan Nam Kiang Din restaurant in Bangkok, for instance, has a 800kg compost machine to handle its food waste. A Tesco hypermarket in Bangkok also has one, and it sells the biogas to operators in the food court.

In a bid to better inform the public of this waste-reduction technology and for R&D purposes, Ang provides small-capacity compost machines to schools and universities.

Eager to share this knowhow, he says: ?Possible wealth can be generated from various kinds of organic, yard and garden wastes, with appropriate and innovative technology, while practising sustainable environmental initiatives.?

For more information, go to

Related Story:
Companies get into composting act

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