Saturday, November 14, 2015

Anaerobic Digestion Companies Grow From Hundreds to Over a Thousand in Just 10 Short Years

Anaerobic digestion companies are a major growth sector within the global marketplace. Until 10 years ago there were probably no more than 100 companies in the developed nations which were actively trading as anaerobic digestion companies, or perhaps would also have been known as biogas companies, and now there are likely to be over a thousand.

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a natural process which will never be patented, it is as old as life on earth. The process was one of the very first to evolve on earth, we know that because AD was taking place before there was oxygen in the earth's atmosphere. AD is simply the umbrella term for any reaction where plant and animal materials (known as biomass) are broken down by micro-organisms without there being any air present. In fact anaerobic digestion only takes place when air is not available, at least not enough is present for aerobic degradation, and it makes methane gas as an inevitable consequence of the sequence of complex biochemical reactions it entails.

The process being more than a short time "out of patent" (millions of years!?), leads to the possibility that anyone can design and build AD Plants using this process, and many companies have been created to do just that!

Main Types of Anaerobic Digestion Companies

There are now a number of different types of anaerobic digestion companies. There are anaerobic digestion specialist companies which will design, build, and construct a complete AD Plant (DBC Contractors). Some of those contractors will go further than that even and will maintain and operate their AD Plants as well as DBOOT Contractors (Design, Build, Own, Operate, Transfer).

There are also specialist contractors, calling themselves AD Companies, which design and build just part of a biogas plant, such as the heat exchangers, and/or CHP equipment

Within the sector of Design and Build Contractors in the developed nations  these companies are usually, as a general rule, specialist companies in one, or at most two, of the following anaerobic digestion plant client sectors:

a) Sewage sludge treatment and biogas production
b) Agricultural sector biogas plants
c) Waste Management Sector anaerobic digestion plants for processing the organic content of residual (also known as "black bag") household domestic waste, and food waste biogas plants.

Some of these companies specialise in one of the commonly optimised temperature ranges of biogas reactors, this being in either mesophilic or thermophilic biogas plants, and others offer two stage AD Plant variants in pursuit of improved reliability, efficiency and better profitability.

In all these sectors you will now also find both companies (i) which apply the normal accepted design criteria to their plants, and, (ii) innovation companies that offer what are presented as "high-tech" versions of the standard biogas plant, which claim, and in many cases no-doubt do achieve, higher gas yields and lower sacrificial energy burdened plants.

The normal accepted "standard" design for biogas plants is the process which is known as a completely mixed reactor process AD Plant. This is the most "tried and tested" type. These comprise 90%, or more, of the anaerobic digestion plants which can be seen dotted about the landscape. They are easily spotted for their large circular based reactor tanks, over which there is is a plastic material covered dome, in which the biogas collects.

However, as soon as someone creates a "rule" there are always examples which break it! That is certainly the case for a number of anaerobic digestion companies which operate novel digester designs.

Examples of these are the contractors which have developed their own designs in the following types of biogas processes:

a) Dry Anaerobic Digestion
b) Low Temperature Anaerobic Digestion and Low Organic Solids Content feedstocks
c) Ultra high temperature (ocean floor fumerole) micro-organism elevated pressure type reactors.
d) Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactors.

Then there are also companies offering optimised plug flow Anaerobic digestion processes, and those that provide a technology which is claimed by its advocats to hold the advantages of both completely mixed reactors and plug-flow reactors, known as hybrid anaerobic digestion plant designs.

This all may seem to add-up to a highly complex and confusing market for the newcomer to anaerobic digestion to navigate through in order to find the best anaerobic digestion company for their needs. So, we will now try to make it a little easier, by directing you toward some of the players in this market, as below:

Examples of Anaerobic Digestion Contractors

Cambi AS was one of the first AD Plant Contractors. It is:

"an international supplier and operator of advanced and profitable sludge and biowaste treatment plants. The plants are based on Cambi`s patented Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP), a pretreatment for anaerobic digestion. The THP significantly increases biogas production and digester loading, increases dewaterability and produces a pasteurized biosolids/soil ...
Bioprocess Control is a technology and market leader in the area of Advanced Instrumentation & Control Technologies for research and commercial applications in the biogas industry. The company was founded in 2006, and today brings to market more than 15 years of industry leading research in the area of instrumentation, control and automation of anaerobic digestion ...
Organic Recycling Systems Private Limited (ORS) is one of the pioneering companies in the field of organic waste processing and treatment. We provide products, services and solutions for efficient waste management. We convert waste into resource. By utilising our technical collaborations, we have introduced leading innovative technologies in India. We combine our ...
Zero Waste Energy, LLC was founded in 2009 and incorporated in 2010 in San Jose, California, by an experienced group of innovative solid waste industry leaders. They recognized the value in the best use of waste feedstock and the systems needed to sort out high value commodities and to generate renewable energy. ZWE’s principal goal has been to design, construct, and ...
SEaB is an international, UK based company working in the renewable energy and energy from waste sectors. The company is located at the University of Southampton Science Park in Chilworth on the outskirts of Southampton, UK.SEaB has developed and patented MUCKBUSTER® and Flexibuster™ compact easy to install turnkey anaerobic digestion (AD) systems which have the potential ...
NorthEast Biogas, LLC works with organic waste producers to profitably generate renewable energy, capture value of greenhouse gas emission reductions, mitigate environmental risks, create new revenue streams, and reduce waste management costs. We use only proven technology systems from a variety of manufacturers, chosen to best match site specific needs, and, as the ...
Two anaerobic digestion technology companies in the United Kingdom Biogen Ltd. and Greenfinch Ltd. [have merged] to form BiogenGreenfinch. The newly formed company will be supported by a $28 million investment from Bedfordia Group PLC, the parent company of Biogen, according to Dan Poulson, chief executive officer of  BiogenGreenfinch.
Established in 2005, Biogen funds, builds, and operates anaerobic digestion plants that convert food waste and animal manure slurry into biogas and fertilizer. Greenfinch is a process engineering company with more than 30 years of experience providing anaerobic digestion technology for the processing of sewage, manure, and food waste. Together, the companies have developed 12 anaerobic digestion plants throughout the U.K. The new company BiogenGreenfinch will employ 43 people.

A number of these contractors are featured on the Biogas Installer website here.

No comments: