Friday, June 29, 2012

Renewable Biogas Report - Global Biogas Market to Almost Double by 2022

There is a new report which has been published this month for about £2,500 (GBP) which looks at the global market for biogas from the Anaerobic Digestion process. It is too costly for us to buy and review here, however, we would be surprised if the global biogas market doesn't grow by at least 10% annually over the next 10 years, and we would suspect that if growth was taken to include small domestic biogas units in the industrialzing nations growth would be in multiples of this prediction.

If any of our readers do buy this report we would be most appreciative if you would come back here and tell us what you found out from the report, and whether it is value for money. Meanwhile, after reading the press release a visit to the original website is always appreciated as we would not wish to reduce the potential for the orginal website to receieve your patronage just because we have provided an excerpt here:

The following press release reflects the views of the issuing entity and are not reviewed or edited by Anaerobic Digestion News.

Renewable Biogas Report Published

Biogas is a versatile energy carrier with potential to satisfy power and fuel demand across a range of end-use applications while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from a diverse array of organic waste streams. Raw biogas captured from landfills and distributed anaerobic digesters (AD) is widely utilized today across the urban and rural landscape as a fuel for electricity and heat generation. Upgraded biogas – biomethane or renewable natural gas (RNG) – is gaining traction as an alternative to fossil natural gas for gas-to-grid injection and as a vehicle fuel in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG).


Biogas' flexibility, growing demand for waste treatment processes, and an increased focus on greenhouse gas mitigation are generating demand on a worldwide basis and in a variety of application areas, including municipal organic waste treatment, agricultural operations, industrial processing, and wastewater treatment. In particular, the use of bio-digesters to process manure and crop residues throughout Germany has demonstrated the potential for rapid deployment of biogas capture on a distributed basis. While landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facilities are also widely deployed, the use of bio-digesters in industrial applications like food processing, breweries, and biofuels production is showing potential as a major growth area, while municipal organic waste and wastewater treatment are poised for significant growth across Asia Pacific. The global biogas industry still faces significant barriers to broad-based scale up, however, as lower natural gas prices, challenging economics, and project-to-project variability frustrate efforts to achieve economies of scale. As of 2012, biogas production accounted for only a fraction of natural gas production with bio-digester deployments concentrated primarily in Germany and landfill gas recovery confined mostly to advanced economies throughout North America and Europe.

This Pike Research report analyzes the global market opportunity for biogas capture across four key industrial segments: municipal solid waste (MSW), agriculture, industrial, and sewage treatment. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, policy factors, and technology issues associated with the rapidly-developing market for biogas production and utilization. Key industry players are profiled in depth and worldwide revenue and capacity forecasts for raw biogas and RNG production, segmented by region and industrial segment, extend through 2022.

Key Questions Addressed :


• Which industry segments offer the greatest low-hanging opportunities for anaerobic digestion?

• Which regions will experience the greatest increase in biogas production capacity?

• What key market challenges will inhibit growth in the lucrative North American market?

• How much renewable natural gas (RNG) will be produced over the next decade?

• How will emerging waste management policies accelerate biogas deployment?

Who needs this report?

• Waste haulers and landfill operators

• Biofuel producers

• Wastewater treatment managers

• Vehicle fleet operators

• Real estate developers

• Municipalities

• Government agencies

• Industry associations

• Utilities

Table of Contents

1.1 Overview

1.2 Market Assessment

1.3 Market Forecast

2. Market Issues

2.1 Biogas Overview

2.1.1 What is Biogas?

2.1.2 Biogas Value Chain

2.1.3 Biogas Feedstocks

2.1.4 Biogas Applications

2.1.5 Market Trends

2.2 Why Biogas?

2.2.1 Biogas as a Renewable Resource

2.2.2 Substitute for Fossil Fuels

2.2.3 Greenhouse Gas Abatement

2.2.4 Environmental Benefits

2.2.5 Valuable Co-Products

2.3 Role of Biogas in Energy Markets

2.3.1 Global Biogas Utilization AD Market Snapshot LFGTE Market Snapshot

2.3.2 Electricity Markets Low Cost Power Flexible Resource Utility Grid On-site Generation Centralized Anaerobic Digestion (CAD) Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)

2.3.3 Heating and Cooling Markets

2.3.4 Transportation Fuels

2.4 Biogas Market Drivers

2.4.1 Integrated Waste Management Biogas and Waste Hierarchies Biowaste Ownership

2.4.2 Environmental Regulations

2.4.3 Energy Security Biogas and Natural Gas Biogas and Oil Biogas and Domestic Energy

2.4.4 Incentives, Mandates, Grants, and Loans Financial Incentives Feed-in Tariffs Tax Credits Environmental Attributes Mandates Mandates – United States' Perspective Mandates – European Perspective Mandates – Chinese Perspective

2.4.5 Kyoto Protocol – Clean Development Mechanism

2.5 Biogas Market Barriers

2.5.1 Cost AD Economics Landfill Gas Economics Biogas Upgrading

2.5.2 Policy Uncertainty

2.5.3 Permitting and Regulations

2.5.4 Public Acceptance

3. Technology Issues

3.1 Technology Overview

3.1.1 Typical System Components

3.1.2 Technology Considerations

3.1.3 "Smart" Process Monitoring

3.1.4 Technology and Market Maturity

3.2 Capture and Conversion

3.2.1 Anaerobic Digesters Why AD? AD Systems AD Technical Considerations Pretreatment Technologies AD Utilization AD Innovations

3.2.2 Landfill Gas Recovery Estimating LFG Potential LFG Extraction Vertical Wells Horizontal Wells LFG Collection, Flaring, and Utilization

3.3 Biogas Utilization

3.3.1 Direct Use

3.3.2 Electricity Generation

3.3.3 Vehicular Use

3.4 Biogas Upgrading

3.4.1 Water Scrubbing

3.4.2 Organic Physical Scrubbing

3.4.3 Chemical Absorption

3.4.4 Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA)

3.4.5 Membrane Scrubbing

3.4.6 Cryogenic Technology

4. Key Industry Players

4.1 Acrona Systems

4.2 ADI Systems

4.3 Bekon

4.4 Biogas Nord

4.5 BiogenGreenfinch

4.6 Biothane

4.7 BTA International

4.8 DTE Biomass Energy

4.9 DVO

4.10 Clean Energy Renewable Fuels (CERF)

4.11 Eisenmann Corporation

4.12 EnviTec Biogas USA Inc.

4.13 Farmatic

4.14 Harvest Power

4.15 Kompogas

4.16 MT-Energie

4.17 Organic Waste Systems

4.18 Progressive Waste Solutions

4.19 Ros Roca Environment

4.20 Schmack Biogas

4.21 Tamar Energy

4.22 UEM

4.23 Valorga

4.24 Waste Management

4.25 WELtec BioPower GmbH

5. Market Forecasts

5.1 Methodology

5.1.1 Influence of Waste Management Policies

5.1.2 Other Market Assumptions

5.2 Biogas Market Revenue Forecasts

5.2.1 By Region

5.2.2 By Industry

5.3 Raw Biogas Production Capacity Forecasts

5.3.1 Production by Region

5.3.2 Production by Industry North America Europe Asia Pacific

5.4 Installed Generation Capacity Forecast

5.5 Renewable Natural Gas Production Capacity Forecast

5.6 Country Forecasts

5.6.1 Germany

5.6.2 China

5.6.3 United States

6. Company Directory

7. Acronym and Abbreviation List

8. Table of Contents

9. Table of Charts and Figures

10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

• Typical Composition of Biogas from Landfill Gas Recovery

• Potential Biogas Yield by Substrate

• LFG Biogas Utilization by Application, United States: 2003

• Share of Biogas Systems by Type, World Markets: 2011

• Share of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions by Source, World Markets: 2010

• Potential Reduction of Baseline Emissions by Source, United States

• Share of Commercial AD Deployments by Industry Segment, World Markets: 2011

• Share of LFGTE Deployments by Region, World Markets: 2011

• Methane-Powered Vehicles in Use by Region, World Markets: 2009

• Spot Price of Natural Gas by Market, World Markets: 2001-2010

• Average Gasoline Gallons Equivalent Price by Fuel, United States: 2011

• Biogas Tariffs by Country, World Markets: 2011

• On-Farm AD Deployments by System Design, United States: 2011

• Share of Biogas Upgrading Deployments by Technology, World Markets: 2009

• Biogas Market Value CAGR by Region, World Markets: 2012-2012

• Biogas Market Value by Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, North America: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, Asia Pacific: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, Asia Pacific: 2012-2022

• Installed Biogas Generation Capacity by Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• RNG Annual Production Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity, Europe: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, Germany: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, Asia Pacific: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, China: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, United States: 2012-2022

• Biogas Value Chain

• EU Waste Management Hierarchy

• Snapshot of Waste Lifecycle

• Anaerobic Digestion Process Stages

• Pretreatment Options

• Biogas Utilization Pathways

List of Tables

• Biogas Potential of Substrates

• LFG Biogas Utilization by Application, United States: 2003

• Share of Biogas Systems by Type, World Markets: 2011

• Share of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions by Source, World Markets: 2010

• Potential Reduction of Baseline Emissions by Source, United States

• Spot Price of Natural Gas by Market, World Markets: 2001-2010

• Share of Commercial AD Deployments by Industry Segment, World Markets: 2011

• Share of LFGTE Deployments by Region, World Markets: 2011

• Energy Projects and Candidate Landfills by State, United States: 2011

• Commercial Biogas Facilities Forecast by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Spot Price of Natural Gas by Market, World Markets: 2001-2010

• Average Gasoline Gallons Equivalent Price by Fuel, United States: 2011

• Biogas Tariffs by Country, World Markets: 2011

• On-Farm AD Deployments by System Design, United States: 2011

• Share of Biogas Upgrading Deployments by Technology, World Markets: 2009

• Biogas Market Revenue Forecast by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Biogas Market Revenue Forecast by Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Region and Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Installed Biogas Generation Capacity by Industry, World Markets: 2012-2022

• RNG Production by Region, World Markets: 2012-2022

• Raw Biogas Annual Production Capacity by Industry, China: 2012-2022

• Raw Annual Biogas Production Capacity by Industry, Germany: 2012-2022

• Raw Annual Biogas Production Capacity by Industry, United States: 2012-2022

• Summary of Renewable Portfolio Standards, United States: 2012

• Typical LFG Project Costs

• Characteristics of LFG Extraction Strategies

• LFG Collection Efficiencies

• Biogas Utilization Efficiency in Conversion Technologies

• Typical Upgraded Biogas Composition (RNG)

To order this report: Renewable energy Industry:

View the original article here

Thursday, June 28, 2012

300 Farm Biogas Digesters Now in Use in Central Java for Energy

We are pleased to bring you the news that farmers in Central Java have started to produce biogas processed from animal dung to meet their electricity needs. The Group Association of Farmers Qaryah Thayyibah (SPPQT) in Salatiga, one of the regencies in the province, has claimed success in the program. We thought it would interest our readers, and these digesters are waste driven so there are no food crop depletion issues. If you find the excerpt from the original article that we have provided below to be interesting, please also visit the original site by following the link provided:

The association announced at a recent ceremony that it had created 300 units of biogas digesters in 20 subdistricts across the province.


The ceremony on Tuesday was witnessed by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan.

SPPQT chairman Khidziq Faisol said that the association initiated the biogas program upon its establishment in 1999 in Salatiga, inspired by the abundant waste products from cow farming.

“This program has helped empower the community to meet their own daily energy needs,” Khidziq said.

He said farmers owning more than two cows could utilize their animals’ dung to produce enough energy for both cooking and lighting.

“A farmer with at least three cows can produce a cubic meter of biogas,” said Khidziq, adding that the amount could produce energy for cooking and lighting in one household for a whole day.

SPPQT has 16,348 member farmers, comprising 660 farmer groups in Batang, Boyolali, Demak, Kendal, Magelang, Purwodadi, Salatiga, Semarang, Sragen, Temanggung and Wonosobo.

Apart from biogas, the association has also succeeded in establishing a micro-hydropower plant with a 170,000-Watt capacity, built for subdistricts located along riverbanks. The association earns some Rp 50 million (US$5,400) per month from the sale of the electricity the plant produces.


“The riverbank communities receive 30 percent of the income and the remaining 70 percent goes to the association to fund its activities,” Khidziq said.

One of the association’s supervisors, Tri Mumpuni, said the entire community was required to participate for the success of the two empowerment programs, including environmental preservation.

“In order to create a permanent income for the subdistricts, we are currently negotiating with PLN [state-owned electricity company] to buy our electricity,” Tri said.

Dahlan applauded the empowerment program, saying civil society movements should start within subdistricts where people could be empowered through a variety of activities.

With the biogas they produced, people no longer needed to purchase kerosene to fulfill their needs for cooking fuel, Dahlan said.

The program, he added, was also in line with his ministry’s target of reducing imports of cattle, by purchasing 100,000 cows to be bred at the ministry’s plantations across the country.

“There is a possibility that we will collaborate with the SPPQT to the rearing of cattle and we will buy the calves bred through the program,” Dahlan said.

View the original article here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

eBay Data Center - Biogas from Waste to Power 6 MW Fuel Cells

The use of Anaerobic Digestion by large IT corporations is becoming a rising trend. Earlier this year there was  a stir at Apple's New Datacentre when the ground was cleared for a mystery construction project which tunred out to be a large Anerobic Digestion Plant. Here again we learn of another "dot com" company which as a substantial user of electricity and seeking to show its "green" credentials is investing in biogas technology.


How much these developments are driven by economic factors and how much by the need to be able to report their corporate responsibility when it comes to using power, can be questioned of course, but these corporations are hard headed enough when it comes to the bottom line to be sre that they won't lose money from these AD Plants.

Read more about it in our excerpt below, and please do visit the oirginal web site for the full article:

San Jose, California based eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) has set out the next phase of its plans to power its flagship data center using biogas from organic wastes and fuel cell technology to help make renewable energy its primary power source.

The internet auction giant is partnering with Sunnvale, California based fuel cell specialist, Bloom Energy to build what is claimed to be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S.

According to Bloom Energy, renewable energy typically supplements the electric grid, but eBay is designing renewable energy into the core of its global commerce platform, incorporating 30 Bloom Energy servers into the new data center's energy architecture.

The company added that the electric utility grid will be used only as backup.

The new 6 MW Bloom installation is being designed and engineered into eBay's expanded data center facility in Utah, and is expected to be fully functional by mid-2013.

Each of the 30 Bloom Energy servers will generate 1.75 million kWh of electricity annually, and will be installed a few hundred feet from the center itself, which Bloom said would virtually eliminating traditional utility grid losses.

eBay will use the Bloom fuel cells - which the company said can generate on-site power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - to replace the large and expensive backup generators and UPS components that are historically utilised less than 1% of the year.

Bloom added that eBay's fuel cells will be powered by powered by biogas derived from renewable organic waste.

The Bloom servers will power millions of transactions by eBay's 102 million active plus users, who generate more than $69 billion in merchandise volume annually.

The data center also will power activity across eBay's other global commerce platforms, including PayPal and StubHub, which Bloom said would enable merchants, retail partners, buyers and sellers to do greener commerce.

The project will be eBay's fifth and largest renewable energy installation. It currently operates a 650 kW solar array and a 500 kW Bloom fuel cell installation at its San Jose headquarters, as well as a 100 kW solar array at its Denver data center.

In April of this year, the company also installed a 665 kW solar array spanning 72,000 square feet atop its existing, LEED certified Utah data center.

"We are embracing disruptive energy technology and designing it into our core data center energy architecture," said John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay.

"Running our data centers primarily on reliable, renewable energy, we intend to shape a future for commerce that is more environmentally sustainable at its core," he added.

Read More

Apple to Build 5 MW Biogas Fuel Cell at Apple (NSADAQ: AAPL) has filed its plans to build the 5 MW fuel cell project in Maiden, North Carolina, that will utilise biogas to offset its natural gas use and qualify as a renewable facility.

View the original article here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Biogas Produces 4 Times More Electricty Than Solar PV -UK AD & Biogas Conference Invitation

We decided to post all of this news announcement. Even if you don't have tyhe opportunity to visit this conference there are some intersting facts, such as that the "AD industry is already producing over four times more renewable electricity than solar PV, with a huge potential to deliver an 800% increase by 2020."


Despite being a nascent sector, the AD industry is already producing over four times more renewable electricity than solar PV, with a huge potential to deliver an 800% increase by 2020. This incredible potential is reflected in the level of growth that ADBA’s annual exhibition and conference, UK AD & Biogas, has experienced in the three years of its existence – 74 to 200 stands, an increase of 170%.

AD is reaching out to all sectors which can benefit from AD to show where it can be the missing link, to help thousands of businesses grow. This is why the UK AD & Biogas conference focuses specifically on demonstrating the benefits and business case for AD to local authorities, farming, and the food and drink industry. The show includes free advice for farmers on site, through ADBA’s farmers’ consultancy service, and free wider project advice from finance and legal specialists.

Key Points of Media Interest:

- Launch of CentreForum’s Independent AD Report ‘Hit the Gas: How to get the anaerobic digestion sector moving’

- Launch of Defra’s AD Strategy and Action Plan Progress Report, which will detail progress on the actions set out in the AD Strategy and Action Plan in the past year and reconfirm the government’s support for the industry.

- Launch of ADBA’s Beginners Guides targeted to explain the benefits of AD to businesses, farmers and the general public.

- Launch of ADBA’s new branding.

This has been focused on engaging sectors that in the past AD has found hard to penetrate, and mirrors the format of this year’s conference which is dedicated to showcasing how AD can fit with local authorities, the food and drink industry, and farming. UK’s first AD & Biogas Industry Awards, 4 July celebrating the innovation achievements of the industry.

Members of the media who wish to attend the conference can do so for free using code PREC3000. More information – including the conference programme – is available here.

Key Speakers of Interest include:

Clare Hawley, Deputy Director of Energy from Waste and Food Waste, Defra, Launch of AD Strategy and Action Plan Progress ReportHenry Robinson, Deputy Chairman, CLA, The Strength of Purpose Grown Crops in ADDr Harald von Canstein, Head of Biotechnology, E.ON, Sustainability and Carbon SavingsJohn Woodruff, Chairman, NAWDO, Aspiration and Reality: The Challenges Facing Local Authorities.James Miles-Hobbs, Director, Rural Development Associates, Farm Advisor of the Year 2011, Business Plan Walk Through Guide

Show Details

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) is holding its third annual tradeshow, UK AD & Biogas 2012 - ‘AD: Your Missing Link’ at the NEC Birmingham on 4-5 July 2012 Hall 3A.

The UK’s only dedicated AD and biogas tradeshow includes a two-day exhibition and conference showcasing over 200 exhibitors, 22 free seminars and workshops, a free professional clinics feature area and the first UK AD & Biogas Industry Awards.

Conference details

The two-day conference will address issues affecting the food & drink industry and local authorities on day one July 4, in Getting Value from your Food Waste and issues affecting the farming sector discussed on day two, July 5, in The Business Case for On-Farm AD. More information – including the conference programme – is available here.

Awards details

AD & Biogas Industry Awards 4 July, at NEC Concourse Suites 1-2, Birmingham. Further details on awards categories and nominees can be found here. Members of the press interested in attending the awards dinner should contact Iona Smith T 020 7633 4526 E

Five facts you need to know about ADBA

ADBA stands for The Anaerobic and Biogas  Association.The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas  Association was founded in September 2009.Since its launch ADBA has acquired around 300 members, including AD plant operators, suppliers, local authorities, farmers including the NFU, utility and energy companies such as E.ON and United Utilities, food producers such as Waitrose and Branston, fleet operators such as Coca Cola and Howard Tenens.

ADBA’s chairman is Lord Redesdale, former Liberal Democrat energy spokesman.

ADBA’s aim is to help enable or facilitate the development of a mature AD industry in the UK and to represent all businesses involved in the anaerobic digestion and biogas industries, to remove the barriers they face and to support its members to grow their businesses and the industry to help the UK meet its renewable energy, climate change and landfill targets, as well as the preservation of critical natural resources.

Key facts you need to know about anaerobic digestion and biogas

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a natural process which converts organic matter such as household food and garden waste, farm slurry, waste from food processing plants and supermarkets, and sewage sludge, into biogas.The AD industry has the potential to be worth £2-3bn in the UK alone and employ 35,000 people.

The AD industry has the potential to generate around 40TWh of energy, equivalent to over 10% of the UK’s domestic gas demand. Biogas (which is approximately 60% biomethane, 40% CO2) can be utilised to generate electricity and heat, or, upgraded to biomethane, either used as a transport fuel or fed directly into the UK’s gas grids.According to the Carbon Trust the generation of biomethane would save twice as much carbon dioxide as producing electricity by 2020.

AD is the only renewable that can be scaled up fast enough to enable the UK to reach its 2020 renewable energy target. Overseas potential is significant and the UK could be a world leader – with the right support now. AD reduces greenhouse gas emissions by treating organic wastes which would otherwise emit methane (landfill, slurries) and reducing our use of energy intensive commercial fertilisers and fossil fuels.

AD preserves critical natural resources such as nitrates and phosphorus. Phosphorous is a finite resource for which there is no known alternative. It is critical for plant growth and world resources are already running out.  Nitrates are one of the key components of fertilisers.

AD significantly improves Britain’s energy security – we will soon be importing over 70% of our gas.Unlike other renewables, biomethane is generated constantly and can be stored in the gas gridBiomethane is one of the few renewable fuels for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) which cannot run on electricity.

View the original article here

Monday, June 25, 2012

Micro Organism: Maximum Biogas - Waste Management World

Although this excerpt is rather long it is a great an in-depth look at biogas from alage. Tom Freyberg takes a deep look at the European funded All-Gas project that aims to treat wastewater solids with a combination of anaerobic digestion and algae to produce liquid biofuels in addition to biogas. In fact, this is only an excerpt so when yo get interested you will need to follow the link at the bottom of the artilcle to read the oiginal version. When you have read this do you thin that you could please give us your views on this suject. Yes. Please give us your comments!

First generation biofuels from crops never really bloomed into a fruitful harvest. Opponents criticized using up valuable land to grow crops and fuel the cars of the rich, instead of filling the stomachs of the poor. Second generation biofuels ? made from biomass - have proved harder to extract the required fuel and fully crack.

And then along came algae. Unlike first generation biofuels, algae can be grown using land and water not suitable for plant and food production. Consuming solar energy and reproducing itself, algae generates a type of oil that has a similar molecular structure to petroleum products produced today. As if this wasn't enough ? algae growth also consumes carbon dioxide, a known major greenhouse gas (GHG).

As a result of the apparent benefits the race is on to commercialize second generation biofuels from algae. Continents and companies are putting money where their mouths are to find out how what we thought was simply a green weed growing in the sea could be the answer to inevitable fossil fuel shortages.

Earlier this year U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Energy would make $14 million of finance available to support research and development into biofuels from algae. The DoE has suggested that up to 17% of the oil imported for transport could be replaced with biofuels derived from algae.

Meanwhile Europe is going even further and mandating the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with biofuels. An EU Directive stipulates that by 2020 a total of 20% of energy needs should be produced by renewable fuels.

Even UK government backed agency The Carbon Trust has forecast that globally, by 2030 algae-based biofuels could replace more than 70 billion litres of fossil fuels every year - equivalent to 12% of annual global jet fuel, or 6% of road transport diesel.

So far, so good then. Yet while algae derived biofuels sound like an answer to inevitable fossil fuel shortages, two challenges remain: space and nutrients.

Phosphorous and ammonia are required alongside sun light and carbon dioxide to "feed" the algae. It is in response to this particular challenge where the wastewater sector could play its part, with untreated effluent being a known source of phosphorous and other nutrients. An EU funded project aims to bring together the challenge and solution and link the water and biofuel industries together.

The ?12 million, five-year project is starting at water company aqualia's wastewater treatment plant in Chiclana, Southern Spain and is backed by the European Union as part of its FP7 program ? supporting energy-related projects - with six partners.

Called All-Gas, which translates into algae in Spanish, the project will see "algal culture ponds" being used to grow micro-algae using nutrients contained in wastewater, such as phosphorous. A 10-hectare site will eventually be needed for the project.

Taking advantage of a warm climate, the algae grows using natural sunlight, before being processed for the extraction of oils and other valuable by products.

Frank Rogalla, head of R&D at aqualia, says that at existing algae farms, up to 30% of operation costs are normally the expense of buying and adding in nutrients to help with the algae growth. These nutrients are abundant in wastewater, he adds, so it makes sense to incorporate the two industries.

Traditionally aeration processes at wastewater treatment plants are heavy energy users, accounting for up to 30% of a facility's operating costs. In the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency, drinking water and wastewater systems account for between 3% and 4% of national energy consumption alone.

He said: "We have converted our treatment to anaeraobic pre-treatment, meaning we will generate biogas from the start instead of destroying organic matter, so no aeration will be needed. From the 0.5 kWh [kilowatt-hour] per m3 which you generally spend for aeration, that will be completely gone. We will have a net output of energy from algae conversion either to oils or to gas. So that's why you get this positive output of 0.4 kWh per m3 of wastewater treated."

So the question has to be asked of how, technically, can the proposed treatment eliminate the need for wastewater aeration? The answer, as Rogalla later tells WMW, is through the initial conversion to biogas.

Compared to nitrification and dentrification to eliminate nutrients in conventional wastewater treatment, a process Rogalla says consumers about 5kwh/kg Nitrogen during aeration, All-Gas will use an alternative conversion. Firstly anaerobic pre-treatment will convert most organic matter into biogas (CH4 and CH2). Algae will then take up the nitrogen and phosphorous.

As the algae will transform most nutrients into biomass, they will also produce O2 in the process, as CO2 is taken up and oxygen released in their metabolic process. As a result, Rogalla says no aeration is necessary. Most organic carbon is transformed into energy (via biogas), nutrients are incorporated into algae, which produce oxygen for any polishing action necessary.

"It only seems logical to use the wastewater nutrients to grow algae biomass; on the one hand saving the aeration energy, on the other hand the algae fertilizer and cleaning wastewater without the occurrence of useless sludge, but producing biofuels and added value instead," Rogalla adds.
Space challenges

Addressing the second challenge of space requirements to harness algae ponds, for a commercial scale operation it's estimated that a 10 hectare site is required (roughly 10 football pitches). But when compared to the oil yields of other crops, algae still proves favourable.

Data from U.S. based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show that the oil yields in litres/hectare/year for soybeans are 400, which compares to 6000 for palm oil and a minimum of 60,000 for microalgae.

As predictions go, the production of 60,000 litres of biofuel from only one hectare of algae is optimistic in comparison to aqualia's aims for the Europe project. If a target set by the EU for the algae demo projects is reached, then each hectare should produce 20,000 litres of biodiesel. This, the firm says, compares to 5000 litres of biofuel per hectare per year for biofuels such as alcohol from sugar cane or biodiesel from palm oil. The Spanish project also hopes to use produced biogas from the anaerobic pre-treatment and raw wastewater organic matter.

One further benefit that has made algae growth attractive compared to other fuels is its consumption of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), namely CO2 in order to grow. It has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by consuming CO2 before it leaves the exhaust stacks from sources as power and cement plants. While the captured carbon will be released later when used in cars, it could still be a step in the right direction in reducing the impact of a world still firmly grasping CO2 emitting fuel sources.


The pivotal outcome of the project will be cost. This was proved in the well documented closure of the U.S. Department of Energy's algae research programme in 1996 after nearly 20 years of work. At the time it was estimated that the $40-60/bbl cost of producing algal oil just couldn't compete with petroleum at $20/bbl for the foreseeable future.

All-Gas has the chance to spearhead Europe into proving that algae biofuel, through the help of wastewater, could be more competitive on a per barrel price with traditional oil

Tom Freyberg is chief editor of Waste Management World. email:

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Corn Use for Biogas Reduces German Grain Output

Food cropping for BIOGAS - Is it REALLY harming the Germans?

This article took our eye at Bloomberg today, and yes it looks damning when you see the headline. However, at this level of reduction and when you consider the benefit which amounts to a significant amount of energy, which the German nation does not need to import as a result of food cropping for the production of biogas, is it really bad?:

Germany’s use of corn to make biogas is reducing grain production as the crop competes for acreage, hurting the country’s self-sufficiency in cereals, farm organization Deutscher Raiffeisenverband e.V. said.


The cultivation of corn for biogas is expected to cut grain supply by about 4 million metric tons this year, the Berlin- based group wrote in an e-mailed statement today.

German farmers are forecast to harvest 41.5 million tons of grain in the period, not enough to cover average demand of about 41.8 million tons, according to the DRV. Germany is the European Union’s second-largest wheat grower and exporter, behind France.

“We’re experiencing a politically-driven tightening of the grain offer, which has to be compensated by increased imports of grain substitutes such as soybeans,” Henning Ehlers, the DRV’s director, was cited as saying in the statement.

The reduced supply of domestically grown grain is causing rising feed costs and reduced competitiveness for the German dairy and livestock industry, according to Ehlers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

View the original article here

Friday, June 22, 2012

Biogas Technology Companies Not Included in UK Government Funding for Feasibility Studies

Biogas Technology Companies Funding, Technology Strategy Board
There does not seem to be any involvement by Anaerobic Digestion process technology companies in a list of UK government funded projects announced on 13 June 2012.

Seven companies are each to receive up to £75,000 in government funds to carry out feasibility studies that could lead to the development and commercialisation of innovative approaches to sustainable manufacturing for the process industry.

The reason for this generous funding is that innovation in sustainability is seen as vital for the continued success and growth of the UK process industry. The funding, from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (, aims to encourage innovation in manufacturing steps that improve economic performance, benefit the environment and have a positive social impact.

The companies who will be reciving cash for the feasibility studies will be CCm Research Ltd, Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, Crown Packaging UK plc, Fine Organics Ltd, Minus Engineering Ltd, Robinson Brothers Ltd and Victrex plc.  In addition to small-scale technical feasibility studies, the funding may also be used to test and develop projects for future larger funding competitions.

There is likely to be more funding to apply for as we are told that these grants are the first part of a £5 million investment in innovative research and development that aims to stimulate sustainable manufacturing and growth in UK process industries.  There is a competition for up to £4.6 million grant funding for major collaborative research and development projects which is in progress at the moment and the results are likely to be announced towards the end of August 2012.

What is the UK's Technology Strategy Board?

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information we recommend that our readers visit

The vision of the Technology Strategy Board is for the UK to be a global leader in innovation and a magnet for innovative businesses, where technology is applied rapidly, effectively and sustainably to create wealth and enhance quality of life.  Our approach to accelerating the pace of innovation in the UK is captured in our strategy document, Concept to Commercialisation, published in May 2011. This builds on the governments first strategy, developed in 2008, and sets out new directions, taking into account the challenges and potententially beneficial opportunities in the future.  The strategy is available if our readers visit: Concept to Commercialisation.

The Technology Strategy Board’s _connect platform provides an effective and powerful way to collaborate online, network and share knowledge with other innovators.  It provides a place to work together securely and share information & knowledge.  Users can utilise the online tools to work collaboratively, discuss ideas and find events.  The networks offer up-to-the minute news on funding, events, articles and publications, plus information about all 15 Knowledge Transfer Networks.  Through the networks, users can find potential business partners, entrepreneurs, collaborators, other innovators, researchers and academics.

For further information about the Sustainable Manufacturing for the Process Industry competition for feasibility and collaborative research and development competition visit: SMPI.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Top 3 Technological Advances in Anaerobic Digestion in the Last 10 Years

The anaerobic digestion industry has grown and changed greatly over the last 10 years.  At the start of this period the only commercially significant Anaerobic Digestion plants in the UK were those which were working at sewage works for water companies. For them the main purpose was that of treating and sanitizing the sludge from waste water treatment works, and energy production in those days came as a low second priority. Compliance with requirements for spreading the residue on land was the main driver for research, and achieving the lowest whole-life cost for disposal of sludge was the aim.

There were some on-farm AD Plants, but most were small and very basic in their design. It is unsurprising then , that the first technological advance in this article comes from the waste water industries use of AD and is the development of hydrolysis methods to increase the proportion of bio-solids digested during the process and reduce the retention time and speeding the process up.

Hydrolysis and Anaerobic Digestion

Methods have been developed to essentially break down the bio-solids within the feedstock for AD plants, which enable the bacteria in the bio-reactor to utilize the nutrients better and therefore to produce more biogas more quickly.

The methods used in the “hydrolysis stage equipment” offered by AD technology providers these days, range from improved physical methods to “mash” and “crush” the incoming organic material into smaller particles, to clever techniques to ensure that as far as possible each cell of organic matter has been broken and the cell walls stripped open. The aim is that the VFA’s (volatile fatty acids held inside each cell) are released and dissolved in the liquid before they enter the digester.

At least three manufacturers of hydrolysis equipment for biogas plants now offer tried and tested hydrolysis stages to any AD plant designer, and the technologies on offer use one or more of the following methods to hydrolyse the feedstock (usually in addition to physical crushing and mashing):

  •         Heat and pressure
  •          Enzymes
  •          Ultrasound.

Before we leave this subject though, we must stress the hydrolysis is best applied to manures and sludges, which are otherwise low biogas yielding and require long retention times in the digestion stage. MSW Food Waste, and bio-crop AD plants are not so much in need of a hydrolysis stage as their  feedstocks are much easier to digest by their nature, and therefore the additional costs of the hydrolysis stage may not be merited for such plants.

Dry AD Processes

The rise in the use of AD for purposes of digestion of organic feedstocks other than the treatment of liquids led designers to innovate by reducing the amount of added water to materials such as the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The reasoning goes like this:

  •  The most common AD method consists of adding water and slurrying-up the resulting mixture to be treated as if it is a liquid, and usually creates more liquid than is wanted (especially for a solid waste client who does not have a farm to spread liquid digestate) and the liquid may be d8ifficult and/or costly to dispose of
  • So why not add a lot less water, or none at all, digest the feedstock material and handle it cheaply as a solid, avoiding any possibility of a plant that suffers blockages and grit build-up in the bottom of the digester?

This was seen as an opportunity, and at least four proven “high-solids” Anaerobic Digestion processes have now been developed by AD technology providers and are offered for the right feed materials as either batch digestion processes, or continuous plug-flow systems.

CHP (Combined Heat and Power also known as Co-generation(US))

Ten years ago, when digesters were built they were provided with gas engines as electricity generators and the spare electricity left-over when the demand for running the AD Plant equipment was provided would be sold into the local electricity grid. The hot water produced by the cooling system for the gas engine would simply run to the cooling radiator provided by the gas engine supplier and by wasted to the air around the plant.

Nowadays, renewable energy production has become a much higher requirement on the agenda for delivering cost-effective and truly sustainable anaerobic digestion facilities, and the cost benefit to the operator of not wasting this “free hot water” has also risen as fuel prices have soared. That means that CHP systems are now almost always a feature of all AD plant designs, and the hot water is used for:

  • Heating the digesters themselves to maintain mesophilic or thermophilic digestion temperature requirements according to the requirements of the digester
  •  Heating farm buildings and the farm itself - for on-farm digesters on -site
  • Delivering space heating for factories, office units, homes and even as hot process water in some cases for factories, delivered via insulated pipelines which are used to take the hot water-off site to other premises.

That completes the three advances which I promised to explain at the start of this blog.

BUT, there are still more developments which are improving the viability of the AD process, which have been developed over the last two to three years, although there is no space to cover them in this article.

Add to this the fact that at the same time the regulatory framework within which the AD sector operates has been evolving  to make selling AD products more viable with for example, the PAS110 specification for the first time setting industry-wide standards by defining what comprises a quality digestate product.

Consider also, the UK government incentives now available with ROCs, the Feed-in-Tarrif, and the coming “Heat Initiative”, and also bear in mind the tax incentive which allows investment in renewable energy projects to be offset against tax at above the actual cost of the facility. Then also remember that the right projects will qualify for Carbon trust grants for EfW schemes, and the outlook for AD has never been more positive in the UK.

We hope that we have shown that the anaerobic digestion process is evolving through these advances, making it very much a renewable energy source for the future, which deserves the attention of all organic waste process designers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Easily Overlooked UK Tax Incentives Available to the Environmental and Renewables Sectors

Don't "Miss the Bus" on Tax Allowances
for energy saving schemes

In this article we will look at some of the tax incentives available to businesses looking to invest in the environmental and renewables sectors in the UK. But first I would like to ask you the following question: "How often do you consider "tax relief" when thinking about an environmental project or renewable energy/ energy saving project for your business"?

Let's be honest many of us would have to reply; "never" or "rarely". But, if so we are making a big mistake.

The truth is that UK Government offers a wide range of tax incentives aimed at encouraging investment in the environmental and renewables sectors. However, despite the existence of these incentives, very few companies, both those supplying services or products (who could benefit) and the end-user's advisors who could be economically justifying their projects through them, are failing to exploit them to their full advantage.

There are a number of such tax incentives available, but in this article I will cover just three of the most likely to be useful. These are Land Remediation Relief (LRR), Enhanced Capital Allowances, and Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief.

Land Remediation Relief

Land Remediation Relief (LRR), is a 150 percent tax relief for remediating contaminated land.

Due to the lack of appreciation of this relief, there are likely to be many commercial owners of what they may concider to be "problem sites" which are thought by their owners to be too costly to remediate and where development appraisals have been made which without any knowledge of LRR which did not appear to be feasible for economic clean-up. However, when the Land Remediation Relief tax incentives available for remediating such sites this can often have such a significantly beneficial impact on the development cost outcome, that remediation becomes viable.

The key point here though is that with the right tax planning schemes which seemed to be non-starters, can become comfortably profitable, once an owner, developer, or investor is aware of these tax benefits. A greater awareness of the tax incentivewould have positive implications for many types of industries including, demolition contractors, land remediation and environmental waste consultants, asbestos removal contractors, Japanese Knotweed specialists etc., in fact all those involved in remediating contaminated land, and building the properties most likely to replace the previous industrial use.

Enhanced Allowances

Then there are Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs), which are a 100 percent up-front tax relief for companies investing in energy, or water, efficient technologies

The Carbon Trust has funds it makes available from the UK exchequer, for investing in energy efficiency measures. The sorts of projects which may qualify include energy efficient light fittings, boilers, combined heat and power plant etc. So, always check that there is no grant which can be applied for and obtained, before embarking on such projects.

Contractors quoting for projects which involve replacing less efficient equipment with more efficient up to date technologies, should also be highlighting the manner in which the capital cost of their product can be offset against the company's tax bill, quite possibly in addition to the receipt of a Capital Trust grant. When this benefit is combined with reduced running costs, a dramatic reduction in the payback period of the product/ energy efficiency work, becomes possible.

So, don't forget the Enhanced Capital Allowances, and that 100 percent tax relief which is available to companies investing in energy and water efficient equipment. Even if the company purchasing the equipment was loss-making and could not use the capital allowances directly, they can still claim a cash rebate from HMRC equating to 19 percent of the loss generated from investing in the technology.

Enhanced Capital Allowances are available for all kinds of energy and water efficient technologies from rainwater harvesting systems at one end of the scale right up to huge waste to energy plants at the other. But, were you aware of the true value of these incentives?

R&D Tax Relief

Research & Development Tax Relief (R&DTR) is a tax relief of up to 175 percent available on certain costs relating to R&D activities, such as the development of new recycling or energy from waste (EfW) techniques.

Engineering technology providere to the waste management industry are by necessity developing new technologies for the treatment of waste and those same companies are also likely to be improving and enhancing existing technologies. The money spent development these technologies may attract R&D tax relief. For small and medium sized entities developing these technologies in-house, 175 percent of development costs (ie staff costs, utilities and materials) will be available as a tax deduction against profits. Alternatively, if acting as a contractor for a larger entity, 130 percent of these costs will be available as a tax deduction.

Here, as well, if these deductions are factored into tenders at the outset, the attractiveness of the offer or proposed project is improved.

Summing up...

You may well ask: "Why, with all these incentives available to business, why are they not more widely taken advantage of?"

There are 3 main reasons for this. Firstly, and overwhelmingly, the primary reason is limited knowledge of their existence. The individuals who are responsible for initiating projects within companies that can make direct use of such tax incentives are more likely to have a property or engineering background, and not tax or accountancy expertise.

As a result, the potential tax benefits of investing in a particular project are either not known about or are wrongly not seen as the "primary driver" of the investment decision, which they may become when correctly included in cost and profit projections.

The second reason that tax incentives for sustainable investment are not more widely used is perceived complexity of obtaining the relief. There is no doubt about it that some of the tax incentives are, at best, cumbersome and onerous to obtain in practice and at worst, bewildering. Claiming ECAs for example, can be unnecessarily complex and this is, in our view, itself a significant barrier to investment.

So, we hope that you our reader will not, after reading this, suffer from the lost opportunity that a lack of take-up of the available tax incentives is meaning for many people and companies throughout the UK. Make sure that you give the right attention to these incentives, and that they are overlooked for the want of appreciating their true value. (Note: This is very much applicable to Anaerobic Digestion Schemes.)

This article is based upon an article in CIWM Journal in 2010, by Aubrey Calderwood, who is the director of tax specialists Capitus. Capitus is an investment incentives consultancy and offers a free guide on the tax incentives for sustainable development and urban regeneration. Visit

Please let us have your comments. We are not tax experts, so please also chip in if we have made any errors in describing how these tax allowances can be applied, and Carbon Trust grants utilized.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fall Reported in Anaerobic Digestion Plant Gate Fees

Today's news of a drop in the gate fees UK Ad Plant operators are being paid by those seeking to dispose of their organic waste is not good news. However, the price given for 2011 seems to be (at £50/tonne) remarkably high. With gaste fees for composting in the region of £20/tone to £30/tonne I am not sure why the waste disposers were choosing to pay what would appear to me to have been a substantial premium to send their waste to an AD plant. That makes me suspect that those producers most likely had another reason for paying AD plant rates, and that the point of saturation for such AD plant clients has now been exceeded.

So, my personal view for what its worth, is that the market rate is probably going to stabilise around this lower level, which is a much better reflection on what the market will stand now that there are so many more UK AD plants in operation.

We have included an extract from the original blog below, but please do also visit the Let's recycle blog article for the full story, using the link provided at the bottom of this article:

'Significant' fall reported in AD gate fees

"Gate fees for food waste sent to anaerobic digestion facilities have fallen ‘significantly’ since early 2011, with some areas seeing price drops of between £15-£25 a tonne, according to operators.
A market report produced by re3, the waste partnership of Bracknell Forest borough, Reading borough and Wokingham district councils and waste contractor Waste Recycling Group, found in March 2012 that gate fees per tonne of food waste for AD and in-vessel composting facilities (IVC) had fallen by as much as £15 over the preceding 12 months, from around £50 in 2011 to £35.
Operators of AD facilities are reporting that gate fees for food waste have fallen significanlty over the last year - Image by: Sustainable sanitation
The partnership is investigating gate fees with a view to possibly introducing food waste collections.
In its report re3 said: “The price of food waste processing has fallen quite significantly over the last year. It seems unlikely that it could fall too much further as demand and capacity will increasingly relate to one another.”


Operators of AD facilities across the UK confirmed that prices have been falling and told that a number of factors have contributed to this, most notably a growth in the number of AD facilities and an excess of AD capacity.
Harry Waters, commercial director at Oxfordshire- based organic waste processing firm Agrivert, which processes around 35,000 tonnes of waste at its Cassington AD facility, said that growth in processing capacity has lead to greater competition in the market, with operators keen to keep prices low to win contracts.
He said: “If you go back two years there was very little capacity in the market, operators could charge what they liked and this reflected the risk they had taken as early movers in the market. The market has now seen downward pressure on prices as a further 20 or so plants have become operational in the last 18 months.  Although it is growing swiftly there is now a balance of supply and demand which has kept gate fees at a more palatable level for the consumer.”
And, Mr Waters noted that two years ago a gate fee of around £60 could be expected for a tonne of food waste, but increased competition had driven this down to between £35-£45.
This suggests that predictions made in WRAP’s annual Gate Fees Report in July 2011 that gate fees would continue to fall, having dropped by around £13 per tonne on average, have proved to be correct (see story).


Mr Waters also commented that a number of larger scale AD facilities coming on-stream have allowed some operators to run plants more efficiently, leading to further falls in pricing still. He said: “Economies of scale are critical to AD.  Some of the downward movement in gate fees can be attributed to larger plants delivering operational efficiencies.”
Other operators have echoed this view, commenting that the pressure for some operators to fill large capacity facilities are pulling gate fees down. One said: “There is downward pressure on prices due to supermarket demands. Two large operators have built big plants and have not got the waste.”
Helen Franklin, managing director of Lower Reule Bioenergy in Staffordshire, said that an influx of new facilities had seen the market become more competitive, but she did not expect it to be a long term trend. Speaking to, she said: “What we are seeing is a blip, caused by lots of facilities coming online and people competing for the clients and clients looking for the cheapest offer. We have almost certainly seen gate fees come down, our facility has been affected by another plant opening nearby.”


Meanwhile in Scotland, operators have noted that prices have fallen due to local competition in the country’s central belt, although this is expected to stabilise when laws introduced by the Scottish government banning biodegradable municipal waste from being sent to landfill come into effect.
Nick Browne, who oversees organics recycling for waste management firm Biffa, which has the 120,000 AD facility at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, the largest in the country, agreed that the market is competitive but said that there is still opportunity for growth within the sector.
He said: “The market is competitive but there is still plenty of food waste and as more councils go down the road of separating out food waste we will start to see an impact on demand. The AD industry is growing, but with fewer parties than originally expected, a lot of facilities received planning permission but did not progress any further due to the recession, for those that do build there is an opportunity as there is a lot of food waste out there.”"
We would be delighted for our readers to chip and tell us what their view is on the all important discussion of gate fee prices for AD feedstock organic waste materials.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Largest US MSW Waste-to-Energy Digester Begins Construction in California

A few years ago it would have been rare to hear of Waste Diversion from Landfill as a driver for the implementation of waste treatment facilities in the US, but it is becoming more common in a number of states, and the reasoning for minimizing waste to landfill seems to be much as it has been, as implemented throughout Europe. 

(Video shows a different AD Plant in construction.)

So, it is no longer just a case of increasing recycling, which of course is a long standing aim, it is also about conserving landfill void space, and not putting additional grounwater at risk with a proliferation of new landfill sites.

We have included part of the original article below. We ask that you also click through and visit the original website for the full article:

Nation's Largest Commercial High Solid Waste-to-Energy Digester Begins ...

"SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jun 07, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- 
Clean World Partners and Atlas Disposal Industries today broke ground on construction of the nation's largest commercial-scale, high solids anaerobic digestion (AD) system, and on California's first AD-based Renewable Natural Gas Fueling Station.

Clean World Partners' Organic Waste Recycling Center at the South Area Transfer Station in Sacramento will convert 25 tons of food waste per day collected by Atlas Disposal from area food processing companies, restaurants and supermarkets into renewable natural gas. In 2013, the facility will be expanded to process 100 tons of waste per day, making it the largest commercial-scale, high solids AD system in the United States.

When complete, the Organic Waste Recycling Center will replace 1 million gallons of diesel per year with renewable natural gas and produce 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Atlas' Renewable Natural Gas Fueling Station will use natural gas produced by the digestion system to fuel the company's clean-fuel fleet, as well as vehicles from area jurisdictions and agencies. Natural gas produced from the initial 25-ton per day operation would fuel approximately 80 school buses for one year.

Clean World's Organic Waste Recycling Center is based on AD technology developed at UC Davis to convert food waste, agricultural residue and other organic waste into renewable energy, fertilizer and soil enhancements. The South Area Transfer Station system when built out will divert nearly 37,000 tons of waste annually from landfills.

"Our development of this facility makes clear the viability of this technology," said Michele Wong, CEO of Clean World Partners. "Our systems are adaptable to a wide range of situations and we can get them up and running quickly. We're especially excited with this center about the use of renewable natural gas as vehicle fuel."

The project's first phase is expected to be completed this summer.
"We're proud of our involvement in developing these cutting-edge facilities," said Dave Sikich, CEO of Atlas Disposal. "By using renewable natural gas to fuel more vehicles, we're helping to improve our region's air quality."
An AD in Edinburgh UK

Although California is also to get its first AD-based Renewable Natural Gas Fueling Station this is only a small beginning when you consider the huge consumption of mineral oil based gasoline by the state's vehicles. Nevertheless, this is a first and a move in the direction of renewable energy.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Planned UK Conference to Address H&S Issues Posed by the Expansion of Anaerobic Digestion Plant Workforce

anaerobic digestion plant safety conference
Is the advent of more biogas plants, with the inevitable exposure of the workforce to biogas explosion risks, on the brink of causing more avoidable accidents?

It is already known that the waste management industry is a significantly more accident prone sector than almost any other land based activity. In fact, according to the Health & Safety Executive the waste management industry records fatal injuries at a rate of over 10 times the national average with accident rates more than four times the national average. 

Figures are not available for workers attending Anaerobic Digestion facilities, but the activities workers carry out are very similar to those in the waste management industry generally. Staff are present where vehicles discharge wastes onto slabs, much as in routine waste management industry waste handling and this is known to be a very dangerous activity.

The workers must work at height on many AD Plant installations, and there is the added hazard of tanks and stored water present. Add to this the nature of methane, which so easily catches out the unwary. It will most times be unlikely to explode as it dissipates rapidly, but this breeds lax behaviour, such that when it does strike it often causes multiple deaths.
Remember the Abbeystead explosion in 1984 ( ) where 16 water company officials and local dignitaries were killed while being shown around a new pumping station in the lake district of the UK? That was a methane explosion and the force was such that it clean took the roof off the structure. It was no normal roof either. This was a buried pumping station sunk beneath the ground in a scenic area!
The possibility of that happening may have been one in a million, you might say. I would say that rare occurrences will happen, and there have been others. If anyone was to ask the families of those killed whether it would have been worthwhile taking more care to analyse the explosion risk before the event, I am certain I know the answer.
 With anaerobic digestion facilities in use and in construction, a workforce with little, if any, knowledge of the specific risks of AD plants is growing in size. This must also be rapidly increasing the likelihood of serious AD plant accidents across the UK.
Could an Abbeystead-like explosion happen again, with similar loss of life? Yes, it could unless action is taken now.
The health and safety of a growing work force is an issue which project developers, local authorities, the waste industry, farmers and the renewable energy industry need to take very seriously.
Now that these new technologies are moving into the mainstream, it is important to avoid the pitfalls which come with lack of experience and training.  According to LAWR, Stephen Williams, Head of Operational Strategy, at the HSE said that; 
“the waste and recycling sector needs to look at best practice in other industries to see how health and safety has improved and learn the lessons”. 
The gas industry has its own regulations and specialist inspectors, and there are numerous other parallels. The Waste Management Industry (landfill and LFGTE sectors) has its own guidance documents known as their ICoPs available on the website (See There is clearly a need for similar guidance to be compiled for AD installations.

Are you involved in Anaerobic Digestion plant design, installation or operation? If so, you can make a difference by taking this health and safety risk seriously. Bring yourself up to speed rapidly by listening to some of the best H&S thinkers and presenters, by attending the following conference:

Health, Safety and Environmental Management in Anaerobic Digestion

Date: 17 Oct 2012
Location: Harper Adams University College, Shropshire

Health and Safety Management in Anaerobic Digestion organised by Recycling and Waste World Conferences is designed to enable AD project managers to develop robust systems and practical skills to ensure the safety of their workforce, from the environmental planning process through to the commissioning and running of the plant.  

With improved health, safety and environmental standards, benefits include plants that run more efficiently, therefore saving money, as well as further investment in the field of anaerobic digestion. 

Key programme topics covered at the conference will include:

·          Environmental permitting and licensing
·          Legal requirements and guidelines
·          Risk assessment and management systems
·          Key dangers and risks
·          Staff training and skills

 PLUS: - Attendees will be given the opportunity to attend a site visit to the fully operational AD plant on-campus at the Harper Adams University College.

If you still need convincing that a problem exists we suggest that you check out the following article links from previous articles from this blog: