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!