Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is UK Biogas Plant Development Matching Growth Expectations?

UK biogas plant growth image
Now that we are approaching the end of 2012 we thought it would be interesting to briefly analyse the progress in anaerobic digestion in the UK (UK biogas plant growth) since the summer by reminding ourselves of what was said at the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) in June, and how the AD industry has been progressing during the 6 months since.

In June Lord Redesdale, who chairs the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA), said that the anaerobic digestion and biogas market could witness an:

"incredible" eightfold increase in renewable energy generation by 2020."

This was provided that the UK government provided the right support (and this is still debatable given that support rate on some incentives are still in consultation), the potential for a growth explosion, was huge.

It is also worth repeating that, at that time Lord Redesdale also made the point that:

"It is incredible that with only 78 plants built outside of the water industry, the UK AD industry is already delivering over four times more electricity than solar PV." 

AND, we have not seen anywhere that the solar PV industry has refuted this assertion.

UK Biogas Plant Growth - the Continuing Expansion

So, the AD market is potentially a big growth area, and we are now able to report that the another batch of treatment infrastructure projects is now well on its way to getting the green light for a large number of anaerobic digestion/ renewable energy plants across the UK.

The largest project to move forward this month seems to be Peel Environmental's £145m energy recovery centre for residual waste in South Clyde. We understand that he development has been granted planning permission by Glasgow City Council.

The facility will be designed to generate up to 20MW of electricity which will be exported to the grid, 55% of which will be renewable.

Just prior to that West Dunbartonshire Council issued consent for a recycling centre at Rothesay Dock, Clydebank. This site will have an anaerobic digestion (AD) Plant as part of a facility for sorting mixed recyclables.

In another development the organic waste treatment specialist contractor HotRot Organic Solutions projects has advanced plans to expand in the UK, through a new commercial partnership between itself and Bio Watt Engineering which will focus on modern composting technologies. Under the agreement HotRot will seek to extend its in-vessel composting operations throughout the UK and Eire.

But, HotRot is not just into composting, and is also working in collaboration with biogas developer to develop 50MW of AD capacity in the UK.

There is yet more AD growth to report as Wyke Farms (said to be the UK's largest independent cheese producer and milk processor), is planning to build a digester near its farms in Bruton, Somerset.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas to all Anaerobic Digestion Blog Visitors

We send our Seasons Greetings to all that visit our website, and we hope that you find our Christmas card amusing.

We also hope that you have enjoyed our articles in 2012, in our seventh year of posting, and thank you for being subscribers and visitors.

Merry Christmas from the Anaerobic Digestion Blog - image

You can visit our main AD website here or take a look at our AD resources with free downloadable resources for use by AD industry professionals.

If you are looking to experiment with your own small biogas plant, we recommend the Firedigester eBook here.


2012 has been a great year for the biogas industry worldwide!

When the figures for the year 2012 are counted up we are sure that the year saw:

  • more biogas plants operating than ever before pumping more energy into the world's homes and businesses than in all history
  • more new biogas plants completed than ever before
  • more shovels put into the ground to start building new AD plant starts than before
  • more publicity, more politicians wanting to be credited for supporting AD plants, and more government subsidies paid, than ever before!
It has been a great year for the industry, and the technology looks like growing even faster next year, as indeed it needs to do, if the renewable energy output produced is going to meet the targets of the rising number of governments which have pledged to support this very sustainable and environmentally friendly technology.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zero Waste Scotland Moves Forward

Zero Waste Scotland Moves Ahead with New Regulations, and Seeks Tenders for an Advisor

Zero Waste Scotland has truly embarked on the journey towards a more sustainable approach to waste and resources, and form now on Waste Management Practices in Scotland will diverge from those in England. Under the measures adopted so far by the UK government recycling rates have continued to rise, volumes of waste being sent to landfill have been declining, and as a society the Scottish population are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their activities.

Zero Waste Scotland
Zero waste does not mean that households and businesses will not produce waste, they will (although it will be much less than now). It means that close to no waste will be sent to landfill.

The Zero Waste Plan means building on past achievements and making ongoing progress. It has now become central in all strategic planning for waste policy in Scotland. What is more it is a popular policy with wide ranging grass root support. The Zero Waste Plan has been described by its originators as: "achieving the best overall outcomes for Scotland's environment, by making best practical use of the approach in the waste management hierarchy: waste prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery".

In effect, Scotland despite its small population, is leading the way within the UK, in setting a national plan for zero waste, and this brings them into the whole issue of zero waste, zero to landfill, and the zero waste economy - with a bang!

The targets to help them shift the focus up the waste hierarchy, were set-out in the Zero Waste Plan for Scotland, and in essence are:

  • for 70 percent recycling and,
  • only five percent to landfill by 2025 for all waste (which is very ambitious and will require changes which will be felt by every citizen and all businesses.

Zero Waste Scotland will need additional help from consultants to implement their strategy and they have (December 2012) published tender details for the appointment of just such in the TEDs European Tenders database.

To achieve such a large diversion away from landfill they will have to innovate a lot. So the ideas which will be developed range from:

  • investment in plastics recycling to creating a nationwide network of volunteers to getting zero waste into the school curriculum;
  • and from beefing up third sector re-use capacity, to helping councils deliver communications campaigns. 

Food waste collections coupled with the Anaerobic Digestion process is seen as a central platform for removing valuable organic content from the waste, as well.

The Driving Principles of Zero Waste Scotland

The idea is to create an "Accredited Re-use and Repair Network" nationally which will entail embedding a new level of professionalism, quality and customer focus throughout a large number of third sector re-use organisations, with the intention being making it a mainstream option for materials such as furniture, electrical goods, bikes, carpets and building materials.

A Zero Waste Zones scheme will be used to involve the public at communmity level. It is intended that this will inject a competitive element and provide a framework for; "communities, which will include schools, workplaces and other institutional settings as well as local neighbourhoods, to work towards a recognised standard and in the process change how resources are valued by others." (CIWM Magazine 2011.)

This will also require the involvement of all the important economic sectors like food and drink, hospitality and construction.

But this is unlikely to be enough without lots of innovation. They admit that they will need:

  • new product design ideas, 
  • better reprocessing technologies and 
  • comprehensively improved and optimized collection systems.
  • to make big strides in designing out the need for waste to be created in the first place.

Plus, progressively more restrictive landfill bans for certain materials; and it is considering a carbon metric to better reflect environmental impact (or value) than the current tonnage-based system.

Scotland won't be on its own though as the rest of the UK is set to follow the same path to zero waste. Caroline Spelman, the Defra Environment Minister, spoke at Futuresource of the Government working towards a "zero waste economy" and of a "new approach, to waste" which works for the new economy.

According to CIWM's Ben Murphy (CWIM Magazine August 2010), she wants to:
""Unpack" what we mean by zero waste and went on to explain the statement by defining what it isn't. It isn't a saintly society where no waste is produced, but it is one where all resources are fully valued, where consumers make deliberate decisions about waste prevention and in which we change behaviour to better reflect the top of the hierarchy."

Northern Ireland,is also aspiring to zero waste. As if he had been colluding with Spelman, he went on to mention maximizing the use of resources, a more sustainable and dynamic economy and behaviour change.

The Welsh Assembly Government launched its municipal sector plan "Towards Zero Waste" in June 2010,
making a clear statement on the subject. Full "zero waste" to landfill will not be met until 2050 and that, the assembly report tells us, will be achieved:

" more efficient use of resources and waste prevention, while building a sustainable environment and a more prosperous and fair society."

However, all this is complicated to explain to the public and there is a great deal of concern that as the process will take close to 30 years to complete it may be seen as failing, so it is important to stress the ideas contained in a report from ZeroWIN, an industrial network project funded by the EC, in which it condenses the essence of the zero waste mission, which all those involved should strive to keep in mind, as:

"...[recognition] that zero waste is a target to be strived for, not an absolute, and it is possible that landfill or incineration may ultimately be the best option for a very small number of wastes".

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Help With Our Research on Biogas Plant Payback Periods

Please Help With Our Research on Biogas Plant Payback Periods. Are they more or less than 10 years? Read the article below, if you have time, but if not please do immediately follow the following Facebook link by clicking on the image below, and vote!

biogas plant payback

Experience with Simple Home and Community Biogas Plants in Nepal

Nepal is one of the lowest energy consuming countries in the world. More than 85 percent of its total energy comes from traditional biomass energy such as from forests, agricultural residues, and by-products from crops which lead to environmental degradation and ecological imbalance and adverse human health impacts too. Beside the carbon revenue, other quantifiable tangible benefits are also associated with the technology. The main objective of the study was to study the prospects of biogas installation in terms of the socio-economic and environmental benefits to the rural community of Nepal.
The field work was based on structured questionnaire and focus group discussion in Gaikhur VDC (154 biogas plants till June 2009, BSP) among representative Biogas and Non-Biogas Households. The primary data was used for calculation of GHG emission (IPCC guidelines), payback period and carbon abatement revenue. 
With the proper utilization of bio gas and treated solid and liquid bio manure the maximum payback period of Synod bioscience projects will be 24 to 36 months

Biogas Plant Payback from the Waste Management World Magazine
Long-term contracts: A biogas plant typically has a payback period of 10 years – and financing to match – so feedstock contracts need to be long term. This is relatively simple with crops but harder when the feedstock is food waste. At present, contracts for supplying food waste typically last for a year or two, which doesn’t support the investment needed to get a biogas plant up and running.

The View from Electrigaz on Biogas Plant Payback Periods?

Biogas plants can take various shapes and forms.
A simple agricultural plant could cost as low as $3,500 per electrical kW installed. Municipal food waste plant can cost up to $19,000/kWe installed!
Every project is different. A typical payback on a biogas plant is 7 years.

Biogas Plant Payback Report from Envitec

10 tons of silage or 20 tons of manure daily. If you have less then 10 tons of raw material your payback period will be more then 2 years. Biogas plants are recommended for big and middle size companies. For such companies payback period is about 1-2 year or less. Middle size biogas plants are plants with 20-100 tons of daily biomass loading. There are no maximum size biogas plant limitations. Equipment is of modular type and can be built up if necessary.

From 5 to 6 months. Standard projects that are already operational available. While projecting only planning and adjustment are made. Equipment supplied as component assembly.

Biogas Plant Payback Periods in Report on Google pdf Site

By 1983, 420 biogas plants, among which 378 full-scale plants and 42 pilot-scale plants, were treating agricultural wastes. Overall he total digestion working volume was 95,000 m3. Two hundred ninety one biogas plants were treating liquid or semi-solid wastes, mainly cattle and pig manure. Fourty five biogas plants were treating solid wastes, mainly immure with bedding. Seventy seven biogas plants were treating mixed agricultural wastes, mainly mixtures of manures.

Biogas plants on farm can be economical, but this is seldom the case. There are two major reasons for this; too high an investment cost or too low performances.

Among the 32 biogas plants for which enough data were available for a valuable economic analysis, only 6 were found profitable. Among these were 3 out the 5 Do-It-Yourself biogas plants. Their Simple Pay Back periods lie between 3 and 4 years and their Internal Rates of Return are higher than 30% which in turn is higher than the capital cost of 15%. Although they have a low daily biogas production, below 1m3 biogas per m3 of digester working volume, they are still profitable because their investment cost lies between 100 and 160 ECU per m3 digester working volume.

Three biogas plants, constructed on a turn-key basis by companies, among which one includes an electricity generator, are profitable with Simple Pay Back periods of 5 to 6 years and Internal Rates of Return higher than 15%.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant Opens in Bristol UK

AD plant in Bristol
The South West of England leads again in Anaerobic Digestion! This week's press is alive with the news of a new AD Plant in Bristol, and so that our readers get the fullest possible picture, with the least effort, we have included quotations from three recent news items from different publishers for you to read. We say - why not make life as easy as possible!

The South West saw a pioneering on-farm anaerobic digestion plant at Holsworthy in Devon in the mid-2000's, and as far as I know that plant is running very successfully. It was one of the very first projects in teh current growth of the technology. Now, Bristol and the region, is clearly moving forward with food waste AD and joining the rising tally of UK food waste anaerobic digestion plants, in this welcome news.

To watch this video on the advantages of separate food waste collection for anaerobic digestion, on YouTube click here.

Bristol food waste plant launches

"Based at Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, the plant can produce ten GWh of energy a year from biogas generated through anaerobic digestion treatment. The plant was officially opened by Defra minister David Heath. He said: "We see here the ..."
As you can see, the government was keen to make its commitment to this plant clear by sending the minister to open the plant.

Bristol's first AD plant opens

"Today (3 December) saw the official opening of Bristol's first food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. The plant was opened by Defra minister David Heath and is operated by Wessex Water subsidiary, GENeco. Based at Bristol's sewage treatment works ..."
And, finally in the excerpt below we have the news from the angle of the Water Company which has made the investment.

Wessex Water launches food waste biogas plant

"(SeeNews Renewables) - Dec 3, 2012 - British utility Wessex Water said Monday its recycling and renewable energy arm Geneco had put on stream a food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Bristol that will generate 10 GWh of power annually."
The plant will be operated by Wessex subsidiary company GENeco, and a further press release is available at the ADBA web site here. The contractor for the construction of the plant was Monsal.

We were interested to read that Wessex Water already produces 30 GWh of renewable energy from sewage sludge using the anaerobic digestion process, at the Bristol sewage treatment works already. That is just about enough to run the sewage works already, so the new power output will supply local electricity demand.

The total amount of renewable energy now being generated by the AD Process certainly continues to rise at a pace!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Disadvantage of Wind Farms May Be Direct Local Climate Warming

The wind industry in many countries has experienced a remarkably rapid expansion of capacity in the last few years, and this fast growth is expected to continue, and yet there is a disadvantage of wind farms not previously known. 

Governments in many countries are willing to subsidize the technology which is seen as low risk compared to many other renewable energy systems, and yet the renewable energy source already holds many disadvantages, when compared to say anaerobic digestion plants.

In the UK a large number of onshore and offshore wind turbine projects are now moving into the construction stage, with an unprecedented number of onshore wind farms having received planning consent over the last 12 months. Other nations are likely to be in a similar position within the current wind turbine technology and investment bubble.

With all that activity the casual observer would, we think it is fair to say, expect that the sustainability argument for wind turbines would have been well established with all aspects well studied. Investment on this scale is surely not being pumped into a technology which will in future years be found to have undiscovered disadvantages and not be as green as was expected - or is it?

The assumption that wind turbine technology is green has recently been brought into question in a study completed by Liming Zhou, Yuhong Tian, Somnath Baidya Roy, Chris Thorncroft, Lance F. Bosart and Yuanlong Hu, which is reported in the July 2012 edition of the Nature Climate Change Journal.

The researchers point out that while converting the wind's kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines also modify surface-atmosphere exchanges and the transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere.

They postulate that these changes, if they are present over large enough areas, may have potentially significant impacts on local to regional weather and climate, and they continue in their paper to provide observational evidence for such impacts based on the analysis of satellite data for the period of 2003-2011 over a region in west-central Texas.

They have chosen well, as this is where four of the world's largest wind farms are located. And, they say that their results show a significant warming trend of up to 0.72 degrees C per decade, particularly at night-time, over wind farms relative to nearby non-wind-farm regions. They go on to attribute this warming primarily to wind farms as its spatial pattern and magnitude couples very well with the geographic distribution of the wind turbines studied. So this may be a big disadvantage of wind farms.

The researchers go on to say that their study is not definitive and the data used only crudely represents the effects of wind turbines at this stage. However, 0.72 degrees C per decade sounds like a large rise to us, and large enough to raise a very significant question over the sustainability of wind farms for the local environment, and regional effects may also be present.  This could come to be seen as a big disadvantage of wind farms.

In our view, and in agreement with the authors, we believe that this study should wake up the scientific community to this concern, which is an important issue that requires further investigation. To quote the authors of this paper;

"We need to better understand the system with observations and better describe and model the complex processes involved to predict how wind farms may affect future weather and climate."

Beyond that, should not this sort of basic research to investigate this disadvantage of wind farms have been completed by modelling before, and not after, such a large investment goes ahead?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New UK Environment Minister Favours Anaerobic Digestion and Shale Gas

At this Blog we see this as being superb news for the Anaerobic Digestion business area, especially after views revealed here on this blog site recently, to the effect that the coalition government did not have enough resolve to fund the wonderful options readily available to the nation from a more subsidized push from the government, which would certainly appear to be mainly what is needed for the numbers of UK AD Plants to rise swiftly.
anaerobic-digestion shale gas - Paterson
To read the full story on the new Environment Secretary's speech we recommend that you follow the following link:
Paterson pledges support for AD sector
"Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today pledged his support for the anaerobic digestion industry in his first major speech since joining the government front bench. Addressing delegates at an environmental panel session at the Conservative Party"
Others have also been commenting on the Paterson speech and recent UK government moves in renewable energy as follows:
"Paterson warns of 'unintended consequences' of renewable energy. 9 October 2012 | By Alistair Driver. DEFRA Secretary Owen Paterson has warned of the 'unintended consequences' of some forms of renewable energy, including anaerobic digestion."
No doubt there are political dangers in unintended consequences of AD technology, but surely the same can be said about all forms of government subsidy?

Now read this which includes comments about Paterson being keen on Shale Gas. Wow! What a reaction that will cause!

Paterson goes for gas: from anaerobic digestion and shale

"Environment secretary Owen Paterson has called the concept of anaerobic digestion "tremendous" and suggested a different approach to subsidies for energy technologies in a speech yesterday in Birmingham. "We have a huge amount of food waste that ...Energy and Environmental Management (EAEM) Magazine"
We also recently wrote on shale gas (as in syngas from underground coal combustion) in our article at: .


Friday, September 28, 2012

Underground Coal Gasification and How It Could Compete With Biogas

Underground Coal Gasification is a process for exploiting coal that cannot be mined because the seam is too deep, thin or fractured. The process involves using the drilling technology usually used for fracking to get oxygen into the coal seam and then setting the seam on fire. By controlling the amount of oxygen injected it is then possible to only partially burn the coal and bring the gases produced to the surface where they can be burn to produce energy. The process is associated with serious groundwater contamination and massive carbon emissions.

When coal is gasified, rather than burned as at conventional coal plants, impurities such as sulfur and mercury can be stripped out of the gas stream, instead of otherwise being emitted into the air. The resulting fuels burn virtually free of these pollutants. Sulfur-free fuel means less smog and acid rain, among many other benefits.

No Smokestack!

Unlike conventional coal burning plants that ignite the coal and send pollutants up a smokestack and into the air, synfuel plants gasify coal and there is no direct smoke emission. This thermo-chemical conversion takes place in a contained reaction and creates only syngas, a mixture of gases which then can be made into liquid fuel. Just like biogas, syngas can be used for liquid fuel production, and syngas can also be upgraded to natural gas just as biogas can be upgraded into biomethane to be sold on the market or can be used directly as fuel for a power plant.

Now you will say that this is surely environmentally damaging due to the fossil fuel based carbon dioxide emissions, but the coal gasification industry has an answer to that. Plants using syngas could invest in what is known as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants, and although these are currently rare and still in development, they are among the cleanest types of electricity generators.

So, rather than burning coal directly, gasification breaks down coal, or virtually any carbon-based feedstock, into its basic chemical constituents. In a modern gasifier, coal is typically exposed to steam and carefully controlled amounts of air or oxygen under high temperatures and pressures. Under these conditions, molecules in coal break apart, initiating chemical reactions that typically produce a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and other gaseous compounds.

Gasification is, as we said already  a thermo-chemical process which investors will like as there is no start up time of several weeks of the sort that anaerobic digestion plants need before they produce biogas.

Who Said That Underground Coal Gasification Was Not Environmentally Sound?

The environmental benefits of gasification in combination with the IGCC process during which the syngas is converted to energy by combustion. Its great advantages stem from the capability to achieve extremely low SOx, NOx and particulate emissions from burning coal-derived gases. Sulfur in coal, for example, is converted to hydrogen sulfide and can be captured by processes presently used in the chemical industry. In some methods, the sulfur can be extracted in either a liquid or solid form that can be sold commercially. In an Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) plant, the syngas produced is to all purposes free of fuel-bound nitrogen.

NOx from the gas turbine is limited to thermal NOx. It is reported that diluting the syngas allows for NOx emissions as low as 15 parts per million. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) can even be used to reach levels comparable to firing with natural gas if required to meet more stringent emission levels. Other advanced emission control processes are stated as being developed that could reduce NOx from hydrogen fired turbines to as low as 2 parts per million.

Carbon Capture is the Trump Card?

These benefits could be combined with carbon capture to prevent the climate changing effects of carbon dioxide emissions once carbon capture and long-term underground storage of the CO2 has been demonstrated to be effective. In which case investors may prefer to put their cash into these power plants, which can be built on a huge scale to allow underground coal gasification to rival the output of traditional coal power plants, so watch out anaerobic digestion for renewable energy!

The US Department of Energy is reported to be working with industry to keep the United States at the forefront of carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies. An innovative clean coal demonstration project in Texas, supported by the Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, is underway.

The United Kingdom is well placed within Europe to develop underground coal gasification by having large reserves of indigenous coal both onshore and offshore in the southern North Sea. These reserves have the potential to provide security of future energy supplies long after oil and natural gas are exhausted. The UK is already building a part UK government and EU funded power station "retrofit" to demonstrate carbon capture and storage in old natural gas fields under the North Sea.

Furthermore, syngas or what is termed as hydrogen oriented Underground Coal Gasification (UGC) for Europe and its Environmental and Safety Aspects are being studied, HUGE2 is a R&D project (2011-2014) co-financed by the EU within the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. It is a follow-up of the project Hydrogen Oriented Underground Coal Gasification for Europe known as HUGE, which was completed in 2010. The EU has funds (although not a much cash as expected due to carbon offsets trading price drops) to fund more projects in carbon capture and IGCC.

Traditional mining methods however are not suited to working many of the UK's on land and offshore reserves, and development and infrastructure costs of new mines so without new technology like underground coal gasification, also known as fracking, many UK and indeed, worldwide reserves would be likely to remain unused, giving anaerobic digestion the best chance to thrive.

Watch Out Biogas? Another Competitor?

But, the concept of gasifying coal underground and bringing the energy to the surface as a gas for subsequent use in heating or power generation has considerable attraction, with spin-offs as a chemical production refinery feedstock instead of oil. So, watch out anaerobic digestion and biogas production devotees, because underground coal gasification (UCG) has the potential to provide a clean and convenient source of energy from coal seams where traditional mining methods are either impossible or uneconomical, and its development is gathering pace.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What is Biogas?

We thought that today we would go back to basics, and use this blog to answer the most common question in the Anaerobic Digestion scene today, which is no doubt a reflection of the large number of people who are now hearing about biogas for the first time.

So, you want to know what Biogas is! Few are aware of it, but the anaerobic digestion process is as old as life, and we here we explain what biogas is, how biogas is made, and how it can help the planet.

The basis for biogas is natural product such as meals scraps and feces which are held in an anaerobic tank, which can easily vary from a storage tank which is not ventilated to a gadget which is especially made to produce gases. The conditions encourage anaerobic micro-organisms, which start to break down the organic product, producing methane and carbon dioxide as a resultant effect. Yet another type of biogas which features hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide can be obtained through the gasification of biomass such as wood or rice husks, a method which is used to make gas industrially.

Biogas is the gas that is the product of the food digestion of natural products under anaerobic conditions. Substrates such as manure, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste, bio-degradable wastes or feedstock are transformed into methane and carbon dioxide.

The biogas digester depends on bacterial decomposition of biomass, waste material which is biological in origin, varying from cooking area scraps to cow dung. As anyone who has walked past an inadequately kept outhouse or garden compost pile is mindful, when anaerobic conditions establish in a collection of biomass, they entice bacterial organisms which emit a number of distinctive gases, most notably methane, in the procedure of digestion. These gases are typically deemed a symptom of inability and they are vented away for disposal, but they can in fact be really helpful.

Exactly How is Biogas Produced?

Biogas is made in the Anaerobic food digestion process. There are many methods which this is done, ranging from in containers, for experimentation, to significant tanks. The largest anaerobic food digestion plants are those utilized for digesting the sewage sludge which collects in all sewerage works. The biggest number of anaerobic digesters are the so-called "dome kind". These biogas digesters start underground. The organic matter (also called slurry) is displaced into a "settlement tank" as the biogas forms. The gas is collected in a brick framework that sits above ground, right over the decaying matter.

Another type of anaerobic digestion plant is the Floating Drum Type. This sort of digester additionally begins underground. A metal drum drifts above the slurry, either in a water jacket or straight on the slurry. The drum floats greater and higher as it is filled with biogas.

Winding Up

It has actually constantly been crucial to do just what we can easily for our environment, but the continuing massive boosts in industrial procedures and output has actually made it more essential than ever before. And not only are our industrial outputs increasing, but our global population continues to grow at a steady pace, necessitating a huge change in the way we approach our industrial practices.

Biogas generators have not yet come to be a common piece of machinery in residences since a totally efficient model has actually not yet been completely developed yet. There are many designs that do in reality produce superb power and a solid backup system.

In the meantime, many of these generators can currently power a strong range of devices, however the accessibility of fuel is an additional factor that has held the propagation of these generators in check. But, their usage is expanding fast and they are terribly required to supply clean sustainable energy to the globe.

We hope that reading this has actually alerted you to the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion to alter energy and our globe for the better so we advise you discover out more at the following link: Biogas Digester Website

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ways You Can Use Green Energy To Power Your Home

A lot of people are concerned about the environment, but don't have a good idea of what they can do to help. Interestingly, an environmentally friendly energy industry has been emerging to serve customers who are interested in making a difference. This article provides many tips so you can live a green lifestyle.

Try switching to CFLs. The compact fluorescent bulbs tend to use about 75 percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs do, plus they last around 10 times longer. They are pricier than the traditional bulbs, but it takes only a few months to make up for it in energy savings.

Warm-air registers, radiators, and baseboard heaters need cleaning at least once per year. It is best to clean these at the beginning of the cold season so they are ready to work at top efficiency once the weather turns cold. Clean heating units will distribute the heated energy evenly.

If you are charging products within your home, use smart green ideas to conserve energy by unplugging these devices when you are done. Even when they are fully charged, these units still consume energy and cost you money. So unplug them when they are finished, and save some energy and money.

Try using cold water in the washing machine whenever it is possible. 90% of the energy used by washing machines is for heating up water. Because of this, using warm water will just increase your monthly utility bill and decrease the amount of money you have at the end of the month.

One simple way to update your home with green technology is, to install solar panels. These can help decrease the amount of energy you use, and save you some money. Not to mention they are not extremely expensive, and are easy to install. There are even some government incentives for updating your home with solar panels.

Consider a ground-source heat pump for your home. A ground source heat pump makes use of the constant temperature of the ground in order to heat and cool the home. The ground temperature will be warmer than the air in winter but cooler in the summer, making for highly efficient heat exchange.

Always have a backup power source for a wind generation system. Your system needs to be able to account for low-wind days. This backup could be another type of renewable source, such as a battery system powered by solar, or a diesel generator. Another option is to have the home plugged into the utility power grid.

Think about getting a hybrid car. Electric cars have many flaws, including the low number of charging stations. With a hybrid car, you can use either gas or electric power, depending on what is available. Invest in a hybrid vehicle if you live close to a charging station or can get your own.

If there is running water on your property, you should consider investing in a good hydro-power solution. A simple mill can turn into an energy generator. Get in touch with Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to find out if your stream is strong enough to produce a significant amount of power.

Find out if there are any incentive programs in your area to help you offset the costs of installing green energy solutions. In the US you can use the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy to check out local incentive programs which you can take advantage of, but also contact your Department of Energy office.

Consider opting for a solar hot water heating system. If you must use hot water to run your dishwasher or do your laundry, a solar hot water system can benefit you. If you live in an area where freezing is not a concern, a direct circulation system will be perfect for you.

You can save the energy it takes to generate paper bills by signing up for paperless bank statements. Most banks will allow you to view your statements online instead of receiving a multi-page paper statement. Banks also offer online bill paying features which allow you to save even more by not using a paper envelope to mail payments.

As this article mentioned before, there are many people who are looking to make a difference in the environment and are seeking to reduce their carbon or environmental footprint. If you have the right information, it's easy to implement green energy solutions in your life. Use the advice in this article and green living is just around the corner.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

First London Anaerobic Digestion Plant Gets Green Investment Funding

The internet is buzzing with the news that London will soon get its own Anaerobic Digestion (biogas) Plant, so below is a round-up of what you can read online about this.

First London Anaerobic Digestion Plant means the city won't be left behind in Green Energy Race

We were just thinking that it was about time that London caught up with the rest of the UK in its provision of AD Plants, and now we have it. No doubt flushed by his popularity, London Major Boris Johnson has out his support behind the project which has secured just over £20M (GBP) in funding, which is no mean feat to achieve in the current economic climate.

Scroll down for the round-up of news links, below the fascinating video from Torse and Lindhurst Engineering.

Watch this video from TORSE for a new biogas plant in research at Nottingham University which produces a hydrogen rich biogas in a smaller footprint unit.

First AD Biogas Plant to Treat Organic Waste in London Secures Funds
"The facility will process food and green waste using anaerobic digestion (AD) and In-vessel composting (IVC) technology on a 4.7 acre site on the Mayor of London's 60 acre London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP). The Mayor has committed over £10 ..."
TEG wins EPC contract for London's first anaerobic digester
"Work to develop London's first anaerobic digestion (AD) facility is underway. The TEG Group recently announced it has secured funding to construct a £21 million ($33.4 million) organic waste facility at East London's Dagenham Dock, including an AD plant."
TEG agrees funding for green power plant
"London's first anaerobic digestion facility to create electricity from household waste has been given the green light, after TEG Group and the plant's funders agreed terms to get the project off the ground. Located within the Dagenham industrial park ..."
"TEG Group has received funding to construct a £21 million anaerobic digestion plant in east London's Dagenham Dock. The new facility will be capable of processing 30,000 tonnes of food waste via anaerobic digestion and 19,000 tonnes of green waste from ...scrap-ex"
With all this publicity, the way to get known must be to get involved in projects in the capital city. There is nothing like it for getting the press to write about you!
Also, finally, after many years of promises from the UK government the Green Investment Bank does seem to be getting going. May there now be many more projects, which get their funding, as this one has done!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

UK Demonstrator Anaerobic Digestion Plant which Paved the Way for UK Food Waste Digestion to Close

So, sadly, Shropshire Council and Biogen have announced the closure of the Biocycle food waste anaerobic food digestion (biogas) plant in Ludlow.

Back in 2010 the council were looking at stopping household food waste collections in the area as a reaction to the need to cut finances although this isn't sated to be a reason for the plant's closure.

The information available in press reports makes it clear that after what is described as a really successful six years operating as the UK's first demonstrator food waste anaerobic digestion plant, the choice has actually been made to wind down plant operations in the course of September with the full closure of the plant by the end of 2012."

It would certainly seem that while it was by all accounts a technical success, the site was definitely too smal to be economically viable, and local CHP use of the waste heat had not been implemented which would have added to revenue, plus the site is fully used and presumably not suitable for expansion.

Ludlow food waste anaerobic digestion plantThe 5,000 tonne per annum plant, built in 2005 as a non-commercial operation at a time when many in the UK questioned the viability of such plants for household waste, and was set up with financing from DEFRA and Advantage West Midlands. 

Biocycle currently services a few contracts outside Shropshire, but reportedly there are now other AD plants which can process this waste.

Take a look at the following article for more information:

UKs first demonstrator food waste anaerobic digestion plant to be closed...

"Shrewsbury UK Shropshire Council and Biogen have jointly agreed to cease operation of the Biocycle anaerobic digestionAD plant at Coder Road Ludlow After a"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Genetically-Engineered Bacteria are Turning Waste into Fuel

From Guest Author Kyle Elliot.

Using microorganisms to solve human needs is hardly anything new; from crude-oil producing algae to pro-biotic drinks, a whole host of miniature marvels are proving that bigger is not necessarily better.

And in the world of waste management, we're no strangers to the principal; technologies like anaerobic digestion have been installed for decades now, turning waste into useful biogas that can be fed back into generators for heating and electricity.

This week, however, a whole new level was useful waste-usage has been reached by the scientists at MIT, whose latest advancement is a bacteria with a rather special party trick - turning waste into fuel.

To give the bacteria it's proper name, Ralstonia eutropha is naturally a miniature plastics factory. Whenever the organism is stressed, it goes into 'carbon storage mode'; taking carbon from any source -and given the sheer amount of carbon in the world, it never falls short - and turns it into a polymer that it can break down for later use.

Whilst plastic seems so inorganic and man-made, Ralstonia eutropha's polymer shares many properties with petroleum-based plastics, according to Christopher Brigham, a research scientist in MIT’s biology department.

Brigham explained that his research team saw the bacteria's potential as a two-birds-with-one stone potential - a natural resource which could provide a waste management solution and produce fuel, by knocking out a few genes, inserting a gene from another organism and tinkering with the expression of other genes, Brigham and his colleagues were able to redirect the microbe to make fuel instead of plastic.

The result is this specially-engineered organism, which breaks down carbon and produces isobutanol - which can be directly substituted for, or blended with, petrol and other fossil fuels.

Whilst the team's marquee experiment has been getting the microbe to use pollutant CO2 as a carbon source, elsewhere in the laboratory, the microbes have been using fructose, a sugar, as their carbon source.

Turning Waste Into Fuel with Ralstonia Eutropha 

Even focusing on fructose, the MIT-produced bacteria could be introduced into landfills, breaking down food waste, agricultural waste or municipal waste into something that could directly fuel automobiles or generators - with no harmful byproducts.

Whilst it will take years more research to perfect the bacteria and plan how it would work within existing facilities, this environmental-issue-busting 'two-for-one' has already proven itself as a potential waste management solution to watch for in the future.

Article sponsored by waste management solution provider MT Waste.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pluses and Minuses for Anaerobic Digestion vs Aerobic Digestion

With anaerobic digestion becoming progressively more popular in recent years, the question arising more and more often in people's minds is the how to assess the balance of advantages and disadvantages of the two processes when wondering whether to adopt anaerobic digestion vs aerobic digestion at the outset of a project

For the purpose of this article, in order to avoid complicating the issues unnecessarily, we shall limit our discussion to the case of organic waste processing and not energy crop production.

Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion: 

Reasons In Favor of anaerobic digestion vs aerobic digestion are very significant if you decide to choose just one or the other for your project. However, while reading this please bear in mind that there is no reason why an aerobic digestion system (which is more correctly known as composting) cannot be incorporated on the same site beside the anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. By doing this the owner of a waste can have the best of both worlds very often.

1. Returning to the benefits of anaerobic digestion, probably the most important benefit not available to the "composter" (aerobic digestion plant operator) is the ability to produce a valuable gas, known as biogas. By burning the biogas produced in an anaerobic digestion plant, energy can be used on-site, or the sale of excess energy can be used to generate revenue from the AD plant.

Such projects gain good publicity because they provide sustainable renewable power from plants which are often called Waste to Energy (WTE) Biogas Plants, or may be described as Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities.

2. A second advantage of anaerobic digestion comes from the fact that a liquid portion of the digestate is produced which has high value as a fertilizer.

One additional basis for stating that the liquid digestate fraction is an advantage of anaerobic digestion is in the fact that a liquid portion of the digestate is produced in most of these process variants, which has high value as a fertilizer. This has the further advantage of improving soil structure, that is certain to prevent making the mistake of thinking that the fertilizing effect is the only benefit that digestate gives.

3. Anaerobic digestion when all feed and discharge operations are carried out in a closed building with proper air-filtration systems for expelling de-odorised air can be less odor producing than aerobic composting.

Then there's the fact that as well as spreading the digestate is generally recognized to produce less odor nuisance than spreading manure on farmland, any odor tends to dissipate faster than is the case for fresh manure. That's crucial because it can be very unpleasant for residents close to aerobic digestion plants when odors are producd, and also along with odor there may be tiny aerosol particles present from aerobic composting which can be harmful to health. If you take that into mind, then it makes sense to encourage anaerobic digestion and avoid aerobic digestion.

That is the pros of anaerobic digestion vs aerobic digestion. There is a negative side also. Let us focus on a handful of the negatives.

Drawbacks: Arguments Against Anaerobic Digestion vs Aerobic Digestion

1. Anaerobic digestion plants cost more to build than a simple open slab (windrow) composting plant.
If you ever thought why anaerobic digestion was not in the past used more than aerobic digestion, that might produce the effect of anaerobic digestion plants cost more to build than a simple open slab (windrow) composting plant.. There is no way that that could be a good thing. It could be enough reason for avoiding doing it at all.

2. Anaerobic digestion needs a consistent supply of organic feed material, and such feed as food waste is hard to obtain.

In the UK until now this has been a problem, but with more and more waste municipal collection authorities now starting to collect source segregated food waste from households, this is less of a problem than it used to be.

3. Not many people know how to efficiently and reliably operate an anaerobic digestion plant compared with the people who know how to operate a composting system, after all composting happens in a garden composting heap without any real control or "operation being needed.

One more cause to avoid anaerobic digestion vs aerobic digestion is not many people know how to efficiently and reliably operate an anaerobic digestion plant but people can, and are being trained quite quickly to learn these skills. I advise everyone to consider this point seriously, because it can result in you becoming a leader in a new trend to make your own energy, if you go for the anaerobic digestion option, or if you go for aerobic digestion (composting) finding out later that your business is considered not to have good environmental credentials as it consumes energy rather than making it. And, if you decide to use and promote anaerobic digestion you are into something growing and destined to get a lot bigger anyway.

So that is that. There are the positives and negatives of anaerobic digestion vs aerobic digestion. So it's actually not what everyone wants and requires. But it will suit and help many. You must look at the info presented to make your personal determination, for or against. You will be able to make an optimal decision influenced by the information provided here in this article.

Learn tips on how to be a anaerobic digestion expert by going to this anaerobic digestion training website at

Saturday, August 18, 2012

UK Biofertiliser Certification Scheme for Digestate Success or Failure

Will a viable market for source-separated biodegradable waste derived digestate ever be established for this undoubtedly high nutrient and soil improvement value fertilizer?

The problem for all Anaerobic Digestion Plant operators in the municipal waste management/ recycling sector has always been that the digestate they produce is classified as a waste. So, it cannot effectively generate a revenue stream for them, and may need to be treated before it can be disposed of. Such treatment, which is done in a water treatment plant, is very expensive indeed.

No matter how good a fertilizer this digestate may be, anyone using it on farmland must comply with stringent waste management regulations. Such regulations, even where its use is feasible, bring high costs and also put-off potential users. After all, where would you find a supermarket that would be happy to see their vegetables described as fertilized by an industrial waste?

The big hope has been the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme, and the hope that it would eventually be extended to other digestate sources.

However, the news just published on the Let's Recycle website provides us with only the  slightest hope. And, Yes. The Biofertiliser Certification Scheme moves forward, but not dramatically.
Let's Recycle News says that the number of anaerobic digestion facilities certified under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) has risen to eight.

The Biofertiliser Certification Scheme implements the PAS110 Quality Protocol for Anaerobic Digestate, which was published in its final form as long ago as January 2009. It applies only for source-separated biodegradable waste derived digestate.

It was seen as a lifeline for municpal waste source-separated digestate producers, at the time.

Although it is only applicable to one type of waste, it's adoption was to at least provide a means through which this form of digestate, created from waste materials, could be productively sold as a fertilizer. Maybe in time, and once its value has been fully realised by the farmers using it, it was hoped they will be willing to start to pay for it.

But, it must be questioned whether at the current rate of uptake of the scheeme, whether the UK AD industry will ever get there...

You can find out more detail about this news by following the links below:

News in Brief

"The number of anaerobic digestion facilities certified under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) has risen to eight, five of which have been certified since the beginning of the year. Agrivert's Cassington AD plant was certified earlier this"
A previous early adopter of the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme was GWE Biogas, which was featured on the Renewable Energy Association Newspage:

GWE Biogas Secures REA Biofertiliser Certification - News - REA

"GWE Biogas’ Sandhill Biogas Plant has become the fourth UK AD site certified under the REA Biofertiliser Certification Scheme On 4th April 2012 GWE Biogas’ Sandhill Biogas Plant became certified for all three products under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme: separated liquor, separated fibre, and whole digestate. The plant can process around 50,000 tonnes of food waste annually through anaerobic digestion (AD), reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and generating a significant amount of renewable energy in the process."

Background Info on the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme for Digestate:

The Renewable Energy Association's Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS), which has been created for the purpose of certifying biogas plants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland against the PAS110 and Quality Protocol (QP) for the production and use of Quality Outputs from the anaerobic digestion of source-separated biodegradable waste.
Biogas plants in Scotland are certified against the PAS110 with further conditions specified by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
We have no information on the number of applications or awards for the Scottish scheme.

Digestate Success or Failure?

So, should the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme be considered a success?

We understand that feedback has been received from the applicants while going through the certification process, so hopefully this will lead to some streamlining of the application and award process.

Surely, all parties have to keep working on this, as it is the only route which exists toward establishing digestate products for this type of waste derived digestate which can be sold as such, and allow the producers to get the deserved income from this material.

Meanwhile, treating digestate from the growing numbers of UK municipal organic waste digestion plants is not only expensive, but consumes large amounts of energy. One wonders whether all those environmental impact assessments, and carbon footprint assessments based upon the use of the digestate as a crop fertilizer displacing carbonaceous sourced mineral fertilizers, should not now be being rewritten?

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Malaby Biogas Up and Running So Attention Turns to Waste Food Collection

Now that Warminster's new biogas plant is operating, the drive now is now on for the operating company to sign up more members to its waste food collection scheme. Long standing subscribers to this blog might think that once a biogas plant has been commissioned, that's the end of the story, whereas for those plants that will obtain their a large part of their feed stocks from the community, the daily round of bringing in the waste feed materials has only just begun. Staright away though, it is obvious that there are immediate spin off benefits from this project. The first comes from the fact that some waste producers will be able to replace the 80 mile round trip to the landfill, with a return journey to the AD Plant of less than 10 miles.


Here we bring you highlights from the recent report from the new anaerobic digestion plant, operated by Bradford on Avon firm Malaby Biogas:

Director Thomas Minter said: “Our local ‘Direct to AD’ collection scheme is now building and we give priority to local food waste, so we hope the support we received during construction will translate into active participation.”

Among the local businesses that has signed up for the scheme, in which food waste is collected twice-weekly by plant employees and delivered to the plant, is the Prince Leopold pub in Upton Lovell.

Landlord Chris Wood said: “We are finally able to do something that reduces our waste travel miles and makes our bins cleaner.

It is fantastic that we have a ground breaking business on our doorstep so now we can genuinely tell our customers we are being green and supporting local businesses.”

View the original article here

Saturday, August 04, 2012

WELTEC Constructs 370 kW Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Bure Switzerland

weltec biogas
WELTEC BIOPOWER has started the construction phase of a biogas plant with a planned electrical output of 370 kW in Switzerland. The plant will be a biogas with CHP cogeneration scheme will supply its heat surplus to heat the local training barracks which can be seen at the back of the photo provided here.

If you would like more information (this is only a small part of the article, plase visit the webiste by following the link below:

The “Bio.Etique. Energie SA” plant is located in the Swiss Canton of Jura. It is a major agricultural area as it has fertile soil. The WELTEC plant will process farm manure, dung, liquid manure, green waste, and grain waste.


The WELTEC plant will be feeding 3 GWh into the power grid annually. This amount will be able to provide continuous power for 900 residences. The plant will generate 2.6 GWh of excess heat annually and this will be used for heating the barracks housing around 1,400 trainees.

Switzerland has plenty of resources for anaerobic digestion plant expension. In agriculture - organic waste, crop residue, dung and liquid manure of about 20 million tonne are available. About 5% of Switzerland’s heating requirements and 4.5% of its power requirements can be generated from biogas. The use of biogas will have a positive eco-balance.

View the original article here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

UK Anaerobic Digestion Community Shocked by RO Subsidy Exclusions

The four excerpts we have included below, all from recent news releases from the UK AD and renewable energy industry opinion-formers, show the level of shock and disbelief at the government's announcement of forthcoming consultation on new Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy bands.

Also, the latest UK Government RO announcements conflict with rising expectations on AD Plant subsidies after their announcement on their Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) plans, made just last week.

The proposal that ROCs subsidy will exclude all plants between 50kW and 5MW output level - which is in the range almost all AD Plants projects are planned for - amounts to a virtual scrapping of the RO subsidy for the vast majority of AD projects.

At a stroke the UK government has announced a body blow to the development of potentially thousands of on-farm and community food waste AD plant projects which were otherwise set to proceed with aid of the expected lower RO output limit.

The young, rapidly growing UK anaerobic digestion industry risks being nipped in the bud, and all those innovative new technological developments expected to flow from the scramble for business in the sector, will gather dust. And, all this at a time when the nation so badly needs to develop new energy sources, develop new jobs, and develop products at home to sell on the world market.

This week industry leaders as a whole have been asking for a cabinet reshuffle in order to get the government to focus more on the economy. Here, surely is another example of a lack of economic vision...

As stated already, we are not alone in our criticism. We have included below extracts from other news releases and articles from the AD industry, for your further reading:

"The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry faces “disaster” after being “squeezed from both sides” by two Government announcements on renewable energy subsidies, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has warned. REA head of biogas David Collins said ..."
Renewables Obligation for Anaerobic Digestion should be maintained ...
"energy and environmental management magazine, the definitive resource for news features and opinions in the energy, environmental management and renewable"
Plans to exclude generators from RO leave industry 'flummoxed'
"Alongside new levels of support, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey also announced there will be a consultation later this year on excluding solar, wind, anaerobic digestion, and hydro-electric projects between 50kW and 5MW. This would leave ..."
ROCs banding review 'a disaster' for AD industry
"However, in a surprise move, DECC also proposed ending ROC support for anaerobic digestion plants under five megawatts from April 1 2013, subject to consultation. The review document states: “The government will shortly consult on proposals to exclude ..."

To sum up. It really is strange as this move comes without any obvious purposeful policy change. Can the manner in which such matters are handled by government really be going to be done in such a disfunctional manner... Let's hope for some re-thinking in this area during consultation.
If you have a view on this news we would be very pleased to recieve your comments.