Friday, January 26, 2018

First UK AD Plant Certified Under New Performance Scheme is Granville Ecopark

AD Plant Certification Scheme

It seems like no time at all since I attended the ADBA conference session at which their AD Plant Certification Scheme as launched in the first week of December, in London, and already the first certificate has been issued.

The first business to be awarded under the scheme is Granville Ecopark. They become the first UK AD plant certified under the new performance scheme.

The scheme has been launched after about 2 years spent by an ADBA member committee in consulting on the essential elements of Anaerobic Digestion facility design and operation good practise.

The aim of the scheme is to help raise the overall standards of operation of UK biogas plants, in all areas.

The group founding the scheme has found that a major benefit for those operators who qualify will be lower insurance charges, and there have been suggestions that the cost of becoming certified will frequently be more than offset by reductions in insurance charges for Certified AD Facilities.

A copy of the full ABDA Press Release follows:

Northern Irish plant treats organic waste to produce renewable energy Plant is first to be certified under new Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme Scheme was launched just six weeks ago at the ADBA National Conference 2017 Granville Ecopark, an award-winning enhanced anaerobic digestion (AD) facility based in Northern Ireland, has become the first AD plant in the UK to achieve certification under the recently launched AD Certification Scheme (ADCS), an industry-led initiative that recognises good operational, environmental, and health and safety performance at AD plants.

The scheme was launched just six weeks ago at the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources   ssociation’s ADBA National Conference 2017 following a successful pilot earlier in the year  involving three different AD plants. The ADCS has been developed in collaboration with a range of industry stakeholders including regulators, insurers, investors, and operators and is managed by ADBA, the UK’s trade body for AD.

Granville Ecopark is the largest AD facility in Ireland taking only food waste as a resource and has capacity to export 4.8 MWe of renewable electricity onto Northern Ireland’s local grid. Recent expansion now allows the plant to clean up excess biogas into biomethane, which is being transported all over Northern Ireland to power CHP engines and create renewable heat and electricity for its customers.

David McKee, Technical Director at Granville Ecopark, said:

We are delighted to be the first UK AD plant certified under this new scheme. It gives us the confidence that we are attaining the highest standards within the industry and will drive us forward to remain at the top. We hope that others will now follow in our footsteps and apply for certification to help boost their environmental credentials and further highlight how important the AD industry is for the future of renewable energy throughout the UK.

Nick Johnn, Director at Aardvark Certification Limited, the ADCS’s official certification body, said:

We’re delighted to announce Granville Ecopark as the first AD plant to be certified under the ADCS. Aardvark was proud to be appointed as the first and currently only certification body for the scheme, which we see as vital to assuring performance and raising standards in what is such an important industry. It was great to receive Granville Ecopark’s application so soon after the ADCS was launched at the ADBA National Conference 2017 back in December, and this will hopefully be the first of many applications. We look forward to working with many more AD plants who are looking to demonstrate that they are meeting high operational, environmental, and health and safety standards.

Charlotte Morton, ADBA Chief Executive, said:

To have the first plant certified under the ADCS just six weeks after the scheme was launched is hugely encouraging and shows the support within the AD industry for raising its performance across the board and recognising good practice in running plants. ADBA will continue to speak to AD operators about the many benefits of the ADCS both for operators themselves and for the wider industry, including increased support from politicians, regulators, insurers, and investors.

In September 2017 Granville Ecopark also became the first AD plant to obtain a Prosperity Agreement with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency whereby the two parties have pledged to work together to develop innovative solutions to maximise energy production and work with the community to deliver environmental initiatives. Amidst this success Granville Ecopark has also been recognised as Market Development leaders with a prestigious award from Sustainable Ireland for its work in food waste and the circular economy.
Visit the Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme (ADCS) website:

Check out the Granville Ecopark website: 

Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) website:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

5 Anaerobic Digestion Problems to Avoid in Commercial Biogas Facilities

These Anaerobic Digestion problems are potentially serious, however, through the good management of modern commercial biogas plants they are easily avoided.

Avoidance of these problems through the use of monitoring equipment, and taking early corrective action whenever these problems begin to appear, is the routine day to day task of the experienced biogas plant operator.

For the full article visit our website:

Now we will look at each anaerobic digestion process problem, one by one:

1 – Foaming

Anaerobic digestion foaming is one of the most common anaerobic digestion problems. It is an operational problem in biogas plants with negative impacts on the biogas plant’s economy and environment.

Foaming incidents can last from one day to three weeks, causing 20-50% biogas production loss, unless early corrective action is taken.

2 – Acidification

This second of our listed anaerobic digestion problems is more correctly referred to as “over-acidification”, because acidification is in itself an important stage in healthy anaerobic digestion.

It is one of the most expensive problems, and if not corrected, can in the worst cases can take months until the digester biology recovers, and digester performance is restored.

Nearly always an overload of the digester biology is the cause for an acidification. Frequently, the problem has nothing to do with the loading rate of the digester, and other factors are the root cause.

3 – Increasing Viscosity

Floating layers form and stirring and mixing flows deteriorate.

The result is poor material transport and defective degassing, this often also leads to elevated plant energy consumption and increasing wear and tear on agitator/ mixing equipment.

In extreme cases, if the condition is allowed to persist, major mixing pump damage, and complete production outages can occur.

4 – Increasing VFA and TIC Value

An increasing VFA (Volatile fatty acids) and at times also in the TIC (Alkalinity, total inorganic carbonate buffer) value, may occur when the organic loading rate (OLR) is increased above a long-term stable rate. The biogas process becomes unstable, due to accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFA), and/ or a non-optimum elevated (alkaline) pH.

Biogas output is impaired if the accumulation of volatile fatty acids (VFA) is sufficiently elevated, resulting in a process slow-down and further VFA accumulation in a worsening cycle, unless the OLR is reduced.

5 – Low Methane Yield

Lower than anticipated methane yield is very often the first indication of other problems, so it is important to continuously monitor the percentage of methane and other gases such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S), as an early-warning of the need to make adjustments to the digester operation.

Low methane yield is merely a symptom of other problems, and is only included here for completeness.

Conclusion – Anaerobic Digestion Problems Seen in Commercial Biogas Plants

Taking expert advice from an AD process expert "troubleshooter", or the AD Plant's Construction Contractor's in-house process experts, as soon as first signs of anaerobic digestion problems appear, is the recommended solution.

For the full article visit our website:

Please also comment below and tell us of any errors, your experience of AD process problems etc.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UK Government Environment Plan's Soil Health Goal Gets Anaerobic digestion Industry Welcome

This new goal for all England’s soils to be managed sustainably by 2030 is a “step in right direction”

Anaerobic digestion process produces nutrient-rich biofertiliser that restores soils.

However, the lack of action on food waste collections in these plans must be seen as a “missed opportunity”.

"Incentives needed for farmers to use sustainable biofertiliser".

Watch our video on this subject below, but don't forget to return here to also SCROLL DOWN, and read our much more in-depth Press Release:

In these times of almost total Brexit obsession, UK citizens must be thankful good to hear of any of the many badly need initiatives the UK needs, to tackle some really big environmental problems, being moved forward.

While the mainstream environmental news today in the UK today is all about Theresa May's measures to reduce the peril of Plastic Packaging waste to wildlife, the news we provide here msut be of equal importance, given that good soil quality is essential to agricultural production. We all have to eat!

Anaerobic digestion is the one process which can deliver on soil quality, while not simultaneously raising the nations energy demand and at the same time also raising carbon emissions.

Composting may produce great soil improvements as well, but can only be achieved on a large scale by the adoption of windrow methods which need energy consuming plant to accomplish and for guaranteed Animal-by-Products regulations compliance forced ventilation (eg in in-vessel composting tunnels) which is an even bigger energy consumer.

Therefore, this goal will mean more reasons for all types of biomass/ organic waste to be treated by the Anaerobic digestion Process.

Anaerobic digestion industry welcomes Environment Plan soil health goal

ADBA Press Release:

The UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has welcomed a target from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for all of England’s soils to be “managed sustainably” by 2030, calling it “an important step in the right direction” towards restoring the UK’s soils.

Defra’s 25-year environment plan, published this morning, calls for “good nutrient management practices” in soil management and pledges to work with industry “to encourage the use of low emissions fertiliser”. It also pledges to create “meaningful metrics” to assess soil improvements and to “develop cost-effective and innovative ways to monitor soil at farm and national level”.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said:
“The health of the UK’s soils is critical to allowing us to grow the food we need to feed our families. Defra’s aim to restore soil sustainability in England is an important step in the right direction, and the AD industry can play a key role in this through producing natural, low-emission biofertiliser in the form of digestate, which is high in vital nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
“The government now needs to provide meaningful incentives for farmers to buy and use biofertilisers that help to restore soils and reduce emissions from agriculture. Providing support for AD plants, which produce these digestate-derived biofertilisers, is therefore essential.”

Despite the environment plan covering resource efficiency and waste, there were no new commitments on separate food waste collections, which as many as half of local authorities in England still do not offer to residents.

AD plants recycle unavoidable and inedible food waste into renewable heat and power, low-carbon transport fuel, and biofertiliser, and have the potential to meet 30% of the UK’s domestic gas or electricity demand. Evidence from Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, which all have mandatory food waste collections, also shows that households and businesses that separate food waste tend to produce less waste due to greater awareness.

Charlotte Morton added:

“Despite rightly identifying recycling food waste as a ‘key priority’ in today’s plan, Defra’s failure to commit to rolling out mandatory separate food waste collections in England is a missed opportunity to reduce food waste levels and allow AD plants to produce the renewable energy, transport fuel, and biofertilisers that we as a country desperately need.
“With European Union members having recently committed to mandatory separate collection of biowaste (i.e. food waste) by 2025 and the UK devolved administrations already having rolled out such collections, England is lagging behind and losing out as a result. The consensus around the need for separate food waste collections in England is building, so we hope to see more concrete policies to support this development in the government’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy.”


Defra's 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment'

Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) website:

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Why UK AD Plant Owners Need Updated RTFO Biomethane Price Information

RTFO Biomethane Price Information - weekly [RE]fuel Reports
It is no secret that the UK government is committed to ambitious targets for decarbonising road transport, while simultaneously reducing crop based diesel bio-fuel production. It has to be able to show rapid increases in renewable energy use in transport, to have any hope in maintaining credibility for its pledges for climate change reduction.

Despite the current price being low for RTFO Certified Biomethane and comparatively little biogas being sold as such, there is a good chance that this will soon change.

The year 2018, may be the year when government and commercial imperatives come together to create a level of demand which will raise prices paid for biomethane, reduce current price volatility, and make supplying energy into the transport sector attractive to AD plant owners.

However, until quite recently there were no freely published, regularly updated, (weekly) figures which those in the anaerobic digestion and biogas industry could monitor for the RTFC-RHI spread (waste based biomethane).

Start-up company Energy Census has identified this as a potential opportunity, and is plugging the gap in the available published market price information with their weekly [RE]fuel report

It is offering regular free [RE]fuel, bio-fuel market price reports from their website at 

The spreads that [RE]fuel are publishing in their current reports (RTFC-RHI) show the difference in pence per kwh and pence per litre between what an AD plant would receive for their gas if they were to supply into the transport sector vs the heating sector – ie, at current prices (December 2017), they would get twice as much per unit of gas sold, if they supply into transport.
Andrew Goodwin ( [RE]fuel MD) said:
“Energy Census is delighted to be able to offer a RTFC pricing service to help minimise financial risk for the anaerobic digestion and bio-resources industry at this time of growing production. We look forward to serving the industry as it grows to became a highly significant player, providing much needed renewable fuel into the renewable transport market. This market growth is one which with others will help the global community achieve the decarbonisation (CO2 emissions reductions) essential to attaining the UK’s climate change targets.”
We have published a more detailed assessment of How AD Plant Operators Can Sell Biomethane Into the Bio-fuels Market and Make the RTFO Work for Them - on our main blog here. Visit that article now to understand why AD plant operators, and related biogas professionals need to keep themselves informed about this, or possibly miss out on an opportunity to improve their biogas income.