Wednesday, February 01, 2012

How to Start a Biogas Business with Massive Growth Potential

New eBook for 2012!
There are many types of biogas plants, from the type that produce methane from sewage in buried (and covered) chambers and which serve individual houses, to the type that are more commonly built in the industrialized nations and are much larger. These commercially run anaerobic digestion plants often process all the organic wastes from large farms, and also in this category are the many municipal waste fed anaerobic digestion plants accepting food wastes at a community scale.

It is the latter category to which we refer in this article, and at this point I think I will surprise many of my readers by saying, that the best approach is not to start by building an Anaerobic Digestion Plant at all!

As a reader of “Anaerobic Digestion News” blog I suspect that most of my readers probably have a very real sense of ambition toward making a success of anaerobic digestion in some way. However, if you ever wish to start up and run your own AD facility, in my view, your best approach is to start with a fairly small windrow composting facility. 

But, choose a site location with plenty of land to allow you to enlarge and diversify your business, over the first 3 to 5 years of operation, before attempting to obtain the additional investment needed for a biogas plant.

By following this path you won't be unique. Far from it! Windrow composting has been the entry point for many of the present waste management biogas companies that I know of in the UK. 

Two examples of companies that have taken this route are:

  • Scottish Water’s Waste Management subsidiary company, at their Deerdykes Organic Waste Processing Facility. This facility was started solely for windrow composting of source segregated green waste from household collections, progressed by adding in-vessel composting tunnels, and within 6 years of its formation, the company had its own Anaerobic Digestion Plant accepting food waste and organic wastes from Scottish industry. As, in the UK, the Water Act prohibits cross-funding by Water Companies of their commercial subsidiary companies, we can be assured that the investment to develop the facility so rapidly, came from a track record of internally won profits.
  • The CountryStyle Group is another example. You can see this when you look at their company history page, on their website at: . They are clearly rightfully proud of their company history, as their growth path is a successful one, as the timeline on their web site shows:
Countrystyle Composting Ltd was formed to develop recycling for commercial and domestic green waste and other organic waste streams in 1996.

Now, in 2012, it is clear that they have found substantial external funding to add to company earnings, and have become a fully fledged waste management company offering a very wide range of waste management services.

2011 in particular must have been a busy year. Countrystyle report that they acquired the Halstead Renewable Power Project with full planning permission for the development of an Anaerobic Digestion plant in Essex. Not only that, the Group also bought a further three in-vessel composting facilities from the businesses and assets of County Mulch Ltd.

By starting as a composting organisation, and choosing the windrow process the company can start with the minimum of delay and at a rock-bottom start-up cost. Once the site gate is open and your business is accepting green waste, winning business is far easier, and all the clients you build a relationship with can remain with you as your simple compost pad based business evolves. Evolution will very often take the business into the addition of in-vessel composting first, and then also adding anaerobic digestion. In fact, you could go much broader and add waste collection services, and skip hire, as CountryStyle has. 

Financial backers all require facility owners to show contracts for a secure supply of organic waste of at least 60% of plant capacity, and sometimes substantially more, before they will lend. You will be able to sail past that particular hurdle if you simply divert existing waste flows from your composting activities to the new AD Plant!

Both Composting and Anaerobic Digestion, result in the production of compost. Compost is used as fertilizer and soil amendment in farming and horticulture. Compost helps put the necessary nutrients back in the soil to help your plants to grow, and demand is growing for it, as the word gets around about just how good the Quality Composts produced today are proving. 

The demand for composting capacity, by local municipal waste disposal department officers is on the increase because it is a form of recycling that helps minimize landfill. The governments of many countries are committed to continually reducing limits on the waste sent to landfill, and a proportion of that goes straight to composting as collection services are adjusted and household recycling rates are maximized.

In a highly competitive business world, I firmly believe that the benefits of starting a composting business far outweigh the time and effort needed to turn it into a business. As a composting business owner you will be providing a service in a growing marketplace which will always be needed, recession or not. You will also be offering a useful product which is in increasing demand. In how many other business areas can you say that both the raw material supply is increasing as well as the product demand?

Clearly, there are quite a few steps, and hurdles, to getting a business like this open for business. You will, for example, need to write a draft business plan as you determine your sources, methods, space requirements and capabilities. You will need to focus upon how the available space and sources of available raw waste to make compost will directly influence the volume of compost you produce. Capital investment is, of course, unavoidable, but the level of spend is the lowest of any process in the waste management industry. 

However, it is all very well to say start small, and by building your business over time you will lessen the risk and investment needed. But, for most people who could truly do this, knowing just how to get started, who to talk to, and what to do each step of the way, seems just too daunting a task. If that happens they can really lose out massively by doing nothing.

That’s why I have invested considered time to produce an ebook, supported by unique software, which I have called the “Windrow Composting Business Blueprint”. This eBook was created to help all those that want to have their own business, be their own boss, and retire in comfort, having sold their business, or handed it down to their children. 

If that appeals to you at all, then you might like to visit our web page at [ - Product Not Currently Available] for more evidence of the HOT opportunity this really is right now!


Renuka Kaushik said...

hello, the link you said to visit for ebook is not opening. is it not available anymore.

Sam Bright said...

Sorry. this product is not currently available.