Monday, December 18, 2017

IADAB News - Edition 13: UK Biogas Industry to Push Politicians - 2nd City in Colorado Goes for Sewage Biogas and So Do 2 Distillers

Date: 16 December 2017: This is Issue 13 of the IADAB News Weekly, where we summarise the news of the week in the fast developing Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Industry.

Once again, it has been busy a week for biogas news. ADBA's Chief Executive has been talking about pushing UK politicians to implement sensible energy policies. 

At the same time she has been describing the UK future for anaerobic digestion. 

Therefore, we have included this as our first excerpt. Her presentation follows-on from what Lord Deben has been saying to the UK AD industry, which included the message that the industry should be telling the UK government what future emissions reductions policies it recommends.

Next. we move to the US for our excerpt, where Longmont, the second largest city in Colorado, is going to convert sewage byproduct (sewage sludge) into fuel. We note that this is yet another US city increasing bio-energy production. Not only will the biogas plant be expected to pay for itself quite soon, but the state authorities are also determined to reduce CO2 emissions.

In our third extract we tell our readers about a new microdigester which its manufacturers say will open new opportunities for small-volume organic waste biogas production. We welcome this new player into the microdigester market. For too long the potential of small biogas plants has been neglected in the western economies.

Finally, we have news of two new work-starts on Scottish anaerobic digestion systems, these being at Balmenach whisky distillery, and at the Caorunn Gin Distillery. The Balmenach biogas project will integrate with it’s existing wood-pellet biomass boiler, and when completed, will provide enough steam and electricity for 100% of the distillery’s energy needs.

Alright, let’s get started… (Scroll down for each extract and use the links to the full articles on each of the individual websites.)

The following is our intro video. Watch the intro video below, for a taster of what you will read if you scroll down below the video:

1 - ADBA Chief Executive talks about pushing UK politicians to implement sensible energy policies and the UK future for anaerobic digestion

With the dearth of subsidies and volatile political environment, Charlotte Morton shared her views on what lay ahead for the UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.

AIDAB Biogas News Weekly Issue 13
Charlotte Morton
Of the ten million tonnes of food waste a year in the UK, six million is ‘avoidable waste’. With the government goal of being zero avoidable waste by 2050, Charlotte Morton still sees a place for anaerobic digestion (AD) in a future, minimum-waste society. We will never be waste-free, so AD will be relevant and increasingly so for places that can supply and benefit from AD facilities, like farms.

However, the present political environment has not favoured AD and with Brexit obstructing any other policy considerations and making the UK less attractive to investors, the industry has to be thinking about viability without such a supportive framework from the government.

“You’re talking about subsidies for an industry that produces green energy and green fertiliser. In the last Autumn Statement, billions were promised to the fossil oil and gas industry. Why are we still subsidising industries that are damaging our environment—damaging our climate—but we’re not wanting to subsidise green as if it’s a bad thing? If we had a proper carbon price we would not need a subsidy and oil and gas would.”
 “If a reasonable amount of investment went into R&D for the AD sector we could absolutely transform the viability of the sector and we’d have no need for subsidies, even in the absence of a carbon price.”

An ADBA spokesperson said that in collaboration with UK universities they estimated that an investment of £50 million over 5-7 years in a centre to develop AD technology would be enough to deliver on a promise of exporting equipment and expertise worth £5bn per year. They also said that the advances made would allow AD to become independent of subsidies.

A shift in mentality is needed according to Morton. She hopes that the government will be forward facing rather than doing whatever is politically expedient, by investing in industries over the long-term with long-term expectations and sustainability.

In a November meeting with the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on the Environment, Sir John Randall at 10 Downing Street, she emphasised the need for renewed RHI regulations and the need for the investment detailed above. Mandatory separate food waste collection by local authorities in England was also on the agenda. via ADBA Chief talks | Bioenergy Insight Magazine

2 - Longmont second city in Colorado to convert sewage byproduct into fuel

A methane flare at the Longmont Wastewater Treatment Plant, where installation of a biogas cleaning system will facilitate turning the methane into usable natural gas. 

Anaerobic digestion at Longmont Colorado
Biogas production will replace flaring
(Adam Butt / Courtesy photo)
Come 2019, Longmont's trash trucks will be powered by an entirely different kind of waste.

When wastewater (anything that gets flushed down a toilet or washed down a drain) comes into the Longmont Wastewater Treatment Plant, organic material is broken down by microorganisms in a process called anaerobic digestion.

The byproduct of anaerobic digestion is methane gas, 25 percent of which goes back into heating the anaerobic digestion process but the other 75 percent is simply set on fire.
"It's the natural gas you get out of your home — methane. But there are a lot of contaminants in that gas so we are forced to flare it," 
said John Gage, Longmont civil engineer. "If you were to burn it in an engine, it would cause all sorts of problems. So it's a resource that, right now, is not being utilized."

Instead, Longmont will install a biogas cleaning system that will turn the methane into usable natural gas by compressing it to 3,200 pounds per square inch.

Once the system construction is completed in 2019, the city will use the biogas to fuel 11 of Longmont's 16 diesel trash trucks. The 11 trucks will be replaced on the existing replacement schedule. The remaining five trucks will be replaced in 2021.

Longmont received a $1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to offset a portion of the costs required for the cleaning system and a $385,000 grant from the Colorado Regional Air Quality Council to offset costs of the more expensive trucks that run on biogas.

Running the 11 trash trucks on biogas rather than diesel will mean Longmont won't use 60,000 gallons of fossil fuels per year, according to a city news release.

Gage said that the stable and cheaper cost of biogas compared to diesel fuel will save the city money in the long run.

"When you look at gas prices right now at the pump, we are seeing $2 to $2.50 per gallon, something like that ... Diesel fuel can get as high as $3 or $4 per gallon," Gage said. "It costs us to treat biogas the equivalent of $1 per gallon. And we can maintain that for the foreseeable future."

Longmont would gain additional revenue by selling Renewable Identification Numbers credits to fuel refiners to meet Environmental Protection Agency obligations to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Longmont would generate RIN credits as they produce gallons of biogas.

Gage said the plan to install the biogas cleaning system lines up with Longmont's sustainability plan by offsetting the use of fossil fuels and beneficially using methane that is currently just being flared.

Gage said there have been discussions with city officials about offering biogas to other entities or to the public in the future.

"What we've estimated is that once converted, sanitation will use 50 to 70 percent of the fuel and we'll still have 50 to 30 percent available," 
Gage said.
"We have already been talking about a possible expansion to do a public fuelling station or reaching out to other government or other interested parties that would be able to use our fuel."
Longmont is the second city in Colorado to use methane from sewage treatment to fuel government vehicles . Grand Junction implemented its system in 2011.

3 - Microdigester Opens New Opportunities for Small-Volume Organic Waste

Ontario, Canada,-based biogas project developer CCI BioEnergy has produced large-scale anaerobic digesters for years, but now it has tweaked a design that can process 300 tons a day and shrunk it to a system the size of a shipping container. The idea is for companies with much lower volumes of organic waste to be able tap into anaerobic digestion.

The Microdigester - CCI BioEnergy

CCI, which has developed larger systems mainly for municipalities, is introducing their microdigester to food manufacturers, distributors, farms, a university and office buildings.
“Instead of tossing organics [throwing organic waste into tye general waste] or having to pay to have it collected, generators put it in the mouth of this mini digestion unit that will break it down and produce biogas,” 
says Kevin Matthews president of CCI BioEnergy.
“We have the ability to make systems to produce gas for electricity, combined heat and power, or pipeline grade natural gas for transportation fuel.”
The microdigester can process between one and five tons of organic material a day.

This is brand new technology to North America, says Matthews who is about to launch a system for Ontario Water Centre in spring of 2018.

CCI Bioenergy is currently trying to close on two other projects, one at a goat cheese manufacturer to process cheese whey, and one for a university in Toronto to deal with food concessions.
“I had wondered for years why more people weren’t doing anaerobic digestion,” 
says Colin Dobell, executive director of Ontario Water Centre. “Part of the issue was the cost. It was only affordable to larger operators. For others it was cheaper to landfill. … We happened to be a suitable site. We are a nonprofit focused on environmental education, primarily of school-aged children.”
The gas coming out of the centre’s digester goes to a gas upgrading unit and from that unit it can go in two directions: it can either go through a pipe into to a boiler to heat the green house, or through a pipe to fuel vehicles.
“We are doing this to at least break even,” 
Dobell says.
 “But we also want to demonstrate to the public what’s available in the way of clean, renewable energy technology and how it works.”
The microdigester technology comes out of England and is called QUBE Renewable, a modular system to process smaller volumes of feedstocks and wastes to accommodate the generator’s volume, which can be scaled up.

The system can process multiple organic waste streams including food wastes, manure, and human waste.

Having focused on larger systems, CCI put much time into figuring out how to economically scale down the technology, while ensuring its reliability.

The plan moving forward is to develop systems for different industry sectors, engaging in pilot and demonstration projects with host entities such as university, dairy, and supermarket chains.

“We are having conversations with many company types who are trying to get comfortable with how to enter into these new projects,” 
says Matthews.
“We go into this with the objective of trying to show their industries this is a good, reliable solution.  They are seriously considering this as an option that may address the issue of, what do we do with our waste that will allow us to turn it into an asset?”
Energy Vision, a national non-profit that researches low-carbon energy technologies, recently awarded CCI for its work, with its president, Matthew Tomich, stating microdigestion technology could potentially revolutionise organics waste management.
“In the past, if you were a relatively small waste generator, you had to rely on a hauler and a centralised commercial-scale compost or AD facility,” 
Tomich says.
“With systems like the one CCI has, that’s no longer the case. In areas with high waste disposal costs and/or high energy costs, this type of on-site solution may prove economically advantageous. We see great potential for on-site micro AD.”
via Microdigester for Small Waste Generators

4 - Work starts of anaerobic digestion system at Balmenach whisky distillery

Inver House Distillers has started work on a new anaerobic digestion system at its Balmenach distillery in Speyside, Scotland.

The £3m biogas project will integrate with Balmenach’s existing wood-pellet biomass boiler and when completed will provide enough steam and electricity for all the distillery’s energy needs.

It is expected to be operational in the summer of 2018.

Engineering company Synergie Environ is project manager, while Clearfleau will design and build the new biogas system.

Synergie Environ managing director Uisdean Fraser said:
“We believe the project will deliver a malt whisky distillery, which is powered entirely from renewable energy sources with the on-site combination of biomass for the primary heat source and electricity from the CHP powered by biogas from the anaerobic digestion plant.”
Clearfleau chief executive Craig Chapman said: “Based on recent projects, Clearfleau is now developing a more modular plant design, for more remote sites and export projects.” via Bio blend whisky

5 - Caorunn Gin Distillery Gets £3m Biogas Investment

Work has already begun on a £3 million biogas project to significantly reduce the Speyside distillery’s carbon footprint, with Inver House Distillers commissioning a new anaerobic digestion system, which breaks down the co-products of whisky production ... via Caorunn £3m biogas investment

We hope you found this week's anaerobic digestion news informative.

This will be our last edition of the year, and we won't be back with our next edition until 2018. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers the season's greetings.

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