DRIVING THE FUTURE and make using biomethane as a transport fuel at least as financially attractive as other potential uses.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS However, there could finally be some light at the end of the tunnel ¬– the Department for Transport’s recent reforms to the RTFO now require 12.4 per cent of all fuels to be derived from renewable sources by 2032. This provides a great opportunity for the AD industry and could be just the impetus required to see biomethane finally take centre stage. Indeed, the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) states: ‘The reforms to the RTFO should help stimulate uptake of biomethane as a transport fuel and create a positive investment environment beyond 2020.’
MAXIMISING HEAT The reforms to the RTFO are expected to generate a further increase in the number of biomethane projects coming on stream in the next few years – in fact, 45 projects currently have planning permission, while a further 10 have submitted a planning application2. However, in order to maximise both profits and plant efficiency, any prospective biomethane developer should ensure they are taking full advantage of the heat generated within the AD process, and that it is being put to best use. Heat plays a key role in various biogas upgrading methods – cooling and condensation may be used to remove water or siloxanes from biogas, while refrigeration may be used in CO2 washing systems. Cryogenic upgrading technologies, meanwhile, use the different boiling and sublimation points of different components of biogas to freeze CO2 and evaporate nitrogen. All of these processes can be made more efficient if existing sources of heating and cooling in a plant are utilised through heat exchangers. Choosing the correct heating and cooling technology, and selecting the right heat exchanger for your project, is therefore vital to the success of the biogas upgrading process. When investigating any biogas-tobiomethane upgrading project, you should ask potential technology suppliers how their heating and cooling systems work. If any heat is being wasted in the system, an experienced heat exchanger supplier would be happy to come on board to investigate the potential to improve system efficiencies, helping to fuel the next generation of gas vehicles. www.hrs-heatexchangers.com
SOLAR CARPORTS OFFER A CLEAR SOLUTION FOR EV CHARGE-POINT INFRASTRUCTURE & THE MEANS TO GENERATE THE ENERGY REQUIRED
o improve the air quality in our towns and cities and to meet our carbon emission reduction targets, the UK’s transition to cleaner electric vehicles is essential. One of the current barriers to this transition in this country is the lack of EV charge-point infrastructure. We meet FlexiSolar, whose large-scale solar carports offer both a clear solution to this infrastructure need, and the means to generate the energy required to power it. Backed by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, FlexiSolar formally entered the market last year as a design, manufacturing, installation and operations company specialising in the integration of solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and carports. The support from Innovate UK, as part of the department’s focus on driving forward innovations that will grow the UK economy, has enabled FlexiSolar to fully commercialise its concept and rollout this integrated energy solution across the country. In the Autumn 2017 budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced £540m earmarked to support the growth of electric vehicles, including more charge-points. With global car manufacturers scaling up their production of electric only cars, ownership of electric vehicles is set to increase significantly in the next few years. Powering these cars on a large scale must not break the grid and focus is turning to how to achieve this with a clean, renewable energy source.
THE BENEFITS OF LARGE SCALE SOLAR CARPORTS FlexiSolar’s solar carport concept allows businesses and destinations to utilise existing parking areas to generate power without sacrificing valuable land resources. From a bespoke carport design, steel frames are installed in the right shape, size and position to best harness the sun’s energy from the solar panels on top, with the ability to add EV chargepoint infrastructure underneath. Often seen as an upgrading to existing parking, interest also comes from decision makers that want car park weatherproofing, improved security
and advertising space, on top of EV charging. Internationally, airports, theme parks, manufacturing sites and large parking lots have been early adopters of the approach; clearly seeing the benefits the integrated solution can offer. 2018 is the year that FlexiSolar predict the UK will commit on a large scale too.
GETTING THE UK READY FOR THE ELECTRIC VEHICLES REVOLUTION FlexiSolar knew right from the beginning that an expert renewables team was vital in its work with organisations across the country. The FlexiSolar team boasts a combined over 100 years renewable energy experience between them, led by longstanding renewables champion Chief Executive Tim Evans. At the beginning of this year, FlexiSolar introduced its sales team. It is clear the future of transport is electric, and this evolution is a key focus for both public and private sector organisations across the country. It is also clear that the popularity of renewable energy in general, and solar PV in particular, has not diminished. FlexiSolar predicts 2018 will see further price reductions in energy storage (seen as the final piece of the puzzle) and the integration of solar carports EV charging infrastructure and battery energy storage is exactly what FlexiSolar is on a mission to deliver. The FlexiSolar team are working with organisations and local authorities across the country to discuss their large scale solar carport requirements. The business is set to break ground on a yet unannounced large scale national project this spring. Find out more at www.flexi-solar.com
ENERGY MANAGER MAGAZINE • MARCH 2018