AD & Bioresources News February 2016

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Issue 30 February 2016

Realising the value of digestate 2016 Plant Update

Best Practice

UK AD & Biogas 2016 preview

ADBA R&I Forum Preview 2

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Foreword Steady action on climate change will reap long term rewards

Inside this issue > Foreword:


View from the top:


ADBA News:


Best Practice Matters:


Feature – Getting value from digestate: Technology Focus: CHP technology:

8-12 14-15

ADBA National Conference 2015 Review: 16-17 Advice Clinic: Policy special:


Plant Update:


UK AD & Biogas 2016 Preview:


Members’ News and Views:




Government & Agency News:


Operator & Working Groups:


R&D Update/ADBA R&I Forum Preview:




Upcoming Events:


Membership Matters:


By Matthew Bell, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change


he end of 2015 saw a climate change agreement in Paris that was more ambitious than most people – including ourselves – had predicted. A very wide range of British organisations played an important role in getting that agreement across the finishing line. I spent much of the second week of negotiations in Paris and was struck by the focus on implementation, even before the agreement had been finalised. The next few years will hold the key to that implementation’s success. The unambiguous language about how effort will increase over time makes it clear what is expected – each successive national contribution ‘will’ be higher than the previous one, and the stock takes that will inform these contributions ‘will’ occur every five years. Successive carbon budgets increase UK ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent compared to their 1990 level. The Committee on Climate Change has now provided the government with advice on the fifth carbon budget, recommending that UK greenhouse gas emissions should be 57 per cent below 1990 levels in the period from 2028 to 2032. That continues the steady pace of emissions reduction to date – emissions have already reduced 36 per cent against 1990 levels. It also continues the steady pace of reduction envisioned in the carbon budgets that have already been agreed; namely, that by 2027 emissions must be 52 per cent below 1990 levels. One of the benefits of such steady, predictable progress is that investors – including those considering AD and related schemes – can plan against known, fixed signposts. That creates opportunities for new industries, new markets and new employment, including the use of biomass.

To be considered for inclusion in a future issue contact: Editor: Kate O’Reilly T +44 (0)7894 039609 E

However, we all know that there are many challenges to overcome. From my Committee’s point of view there are two central issues for biomass use: first, very clearly demonstrating that any biomass being used is zero or low carbon over its lifecycle. And second, ensuring that this low carbon biomass is put to its most valuable use. There should be a coincidence of objectives between my Committee’s desire to see the limited supplies of low carbon biomass used where they are of most value, and investors’ market-driven interest to see their products used where they are most valued.

AD&Bioresources News FEATURES

I look forward to working with everyone in the sector to better understand the barriers to making that happen.


Features planned for Issue 31 (April) include: • On-site AD for food & drink companies • Technology Focus: Measuring & controls Copy deadline: 12 Feb

Features planed for Issue 32 (June) include: • Best practice and improving operational performance • Technology Focus: On-farm AD technology • UK AD & Biogas 2016 Exhibitor Preview Copy deadline: 15 Apr

Sponsorship and advertising: Neill Wightman, Events and Sponsorship Manager T +44 (0)203 176 4414 E

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


View from the top UK has the opportunity to lead on emissions reduction By Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s Chief Executive


he global commitment reached at December’s Paris Climate Change Conference to limit global greenhouse gas emissions must now be matched in action by each country. That requires David Cameron to reassess the government’s ability to deliver on its own emissions targets. Following the government’s recent commitment to extending the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget, ADBA’s latest Market Report forecasts a possible quadrupling in the UK’s biomethane to grid sector, subject to the outstanding issues being resolved. While we don’t yet know the exact funding breakdown on a technology-by-technology basis, there is space in the budget for the number of biomethane plants to rise from 40 to 180 by 2021, if sufficient funds are allocated to our sector. That would deliver a third of the additional renewable heat needed to meet the government’s 2020 target of 12 per cent, about 5,000 extra construction jobs, and renewable heat for around 500,000 homes. But this is only a fraction of the overall value that AD could contribute to the UK’s low carbon economy – by reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuel energy sources, rotting manures, landfilled food waste and artificial fertilisers, AD’s vital role in decarbonising electricity, heat, farming and transport alone could reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent. That’s a huge contribution to the UK’s climate commitment. While DECC’s decision to reinstate pre-accreditation for AD under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme will in part restore vital investor confidence, our industry’s ability to deploy additional baseload capacity will be severely limited due to the 4

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

ridiculously low deployment cap. A maximum of 20 MW of new capacity each year is less than half of the total AD deployment in 2014. Today, the AD industry includes 430 plants currently providing 535 MWe of baseload capacity. However, there is still much more room for growth. With renewed support under the FIT scheme, AD could deliver the same capacity of baseload energy as Hinkley Point C even before that comes online – and at less cost and risk. That’s valuable additional electrical capacity we could continue delivering from tomorrow; increasing the capacity margin incrementally year on year and thereby reducing the risk of blackouts and brownouts. And AD’s contribution doesn’t stop there. A thriving AD industry has the potential to: deliver 30 per cent of domestic heat or electricity; save bill payers £1.2 billion in carbon abatement costs; fuel up to 80 per cent of HGVs; reverse soil degradation trends (which already cost the UK about £1.4 billion); generate 30,000 more jobs; and extract the greatest possible value from inedible food waste by recycling essential nutrients to improve soil quality, while generating enough additional baseload energy across all sectors to power 750,000 homes. Every nation must now reassess its own energy and resource management policy with the aim of reducing global carbon emissions. Great Britain now has an opportunity to take the lead – not just on delivering the policy mechanisms for tackling climate change, but also on exporting the low carbon technologies to facilitate the process. The UK is a European leader on food waste AD technology – it could also be a major contributor to an overall AD export market worth billions.

ADBA News Biomethane in transport – influencing policy ADBA recently joined a workshop held by the Department for Transport (DfT) on future changes to renewable transport support. While the majority of the meeting focused on biodiesel and wider biofuel issues, there was also some discussion on biomethane assumptions and projections. DfT officials suggested that the cost projections for biomethane may be low: they are technical assessments which do not take into account different scenarios for using biomethane, or comparison with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

© GENeco

We noted that their projections for biomethane supply are low compared to what would be possible with the right support, and we will continue to liaise closely with DfT officials on the cost of producing biomethane for the transport sector.

Defra issues latest statistics on land used for bioenergy Defra has released the latest statistics on land used for bioenergy. As the following graph shows, the AD industry continues to be waste-dominated, with the addition of crop feedstocks for certain projects. Total reported tonnages by feedstock type, UK 2012 and 2013

Defra has also presented more up-to-date information from the June agricultural survey, on the intended use of maize grown in the UK. This shows a very small increase in the proportion of maize used for AD, which represents 19 per cent of the total maize area in 2015, and 0.7 per cent of the total arable area. Maize by intended usage, England

Thousand tonnes 900

Grain maize 4%

800 Maize for AD 17%

700 600

2012 2013

Grain maize 5% Maize for AD 19%

500 400 Fodder maize 76%

Fodder maize 79%

300 200 100 0

Purpose grown (energy) crops



Separated solid food


Mixed food & green material


Source: June Survey of Agriculture


(Excludes feedstocks for industrial facilities that discharge treated water to sewer) Source: WRAP A Survey of the UK Organics Recycling Industry in 2012, WRAP Survey of the UK Anaerobic Digestion industry in 2013

ADBA has been working in partnership with other industry representatives on making a proactive case for crops in AD, debunking the ‘food vs fuel’ myth and outlining the value offered from AD crops.

Have your say on BREF

that are regulated as ‘installations’, as they must meet the indicative BAT requirements set out in the BREF document.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is consulting on the first draft of the revised Waste Treatment Best Available Techniques Reference (WT BREF) requirements. This document will have EU-wide implications for those AD plants and other waste treatment activities

The consultation will run until 18 March 2016 and we will collate member feedback in our response to the Environment Agency, who represent the UK on the Technical Working Group. Please send your comments to

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News



Parliamentary drinks reception will shine Westminster spotlight on AD to key government goals by improving UK food security, carbon abatement and recycling rates, and yet they only receive support – and dwindling support at that – for the energy they generate. This lobbying exercise is crucial. Given the recent turbulent nature of DECC’s policy making, we need vocal support in Parliament from MPs right across the political spectrum who are willing to stand up for the small businesses, farmers and resource-efficient groups that comprise the AD industry.

How you can help ADBA is excited to announce that we will be hosting a drinks reception in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 1 March 2016. The aim of this free to attend event is to increase awareness of anaerobic digestion amongst MPs and peers. To ensure that it appeals to those who do not have an energy interest or an existing knowledge of AD, the reception will have a strong farming theme. By showcasing the technology’s invaluable contribution to farming resilience, we want to capitalise on the event to secure greater recognition for the non-energy benefits of on-farm AD. Plant operators make huge contributions


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Please download the template letter available on our website and invite your local MP to join us at the reception – Remember, every MP that attends means another opportunity to directly influence a policymaker, without the challenge of navigating their gatekeepers. To register your interest in attending the reception, contact our Parliamentary Affairs Manager Please note that the venue’s capacity is limited and we cannot guarantee space.

Best Practice Matters

ADBA’s Best Practice Scheme – helping the AD industry to help itself What are we trying to achieve?

ADBA is developing a Best Practice Scheme for the AD industry, with the aim of improving individual plant performance and, as a result, improving the performance of the industry as a whole.

For information and advice on any areas relating to AD best practice, contact our Environment and Regulation Manager, Jess Allan T +44 (0)203 735 8380 E

The scheme will focus on the management of environmental and health and safety risks, as well as operational performance more generally. We believe that the AD industry in the UK now has the motivation and expertise needed to become the most competitive in the world and we think that an industry-led Best Practice Scheme is the most effective way to fulfil this potential. We understand that Defra and the regulators are looking to the industry to take responsibility for its own performance; the message that we are getting is that if the industry itself does not do something to improve, then regulation could become tighter. At present, our proposal for the scheme includes the creation and collation of guidance; provision of best practice workshops; a voluntary certification process; and performance benchmarking.

What are our key considerations?

We believe that the scheme should identify what we, as an industry, could and should be doing better. It should then drive the necessary improvements. However, it will not be prescriptive and we will not be promoting a ‘one size fits all’ approach; our industry is diverse and innovative, and those are qualities that we need to keep. We will also avoid duplicating existing standards and guidance.

How will the scheme benefit the AD industry?

• More effective risk management = fewer avoidable incidents and lower cost of insurance • Better operational efficiency = maximise profit and help demonstrate the value of AD • Improved reputation = more positive perception of industry by public, regulators and others • Demonstrate good performance = avoid additional regulatory burden

How you can get involved

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february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News

Getting value from digestate

Where there’s muck there’s brass – turning digestate into a revenue stream


s Britain’s AD sector has expanded over the past six years, so the volume of digestate being produced has also increased. There are now over 270 plants in operation outside of the water sector, processing more than 11m tonnes of material, including food waste, farm waste, crops and industrial residues. While AD operators have historically been more concerned with producing heat and electricity than digestate, the saying ‘what goes in must come out’ is especially true for an anaerobic digester. For every tonne of feedstock added, approximately 0.94 tonnes of digestate will be produced.* With developers’ profit margins being squeezed tighter than ever before, today’s successful operators understand that every single part of the business must be optimised if they are to succeed – from procuring quality feedstock and running a healthy and stable digester, to using waste heat and employing a robust digestate strategy. Far from being an afterthought, there is now a real focus on making the most of the significant volumes of digestate generated from the AD process.

What’s it worth?

There can be no denying the nutrient benefits of digestate. High in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), it also contains magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (SO), making it an ideal replacement for chemical fertilisers. WRAP has carried out a number of studies examining the financial value of the nutrients in digestate. Results from the DC-Agri programme of field experiments have shown that using organic materials, including digestate, in combination with bagged fertilisers can increase crop yields. This benefit was valued at £55-£160 per hectare, taking into account the value of bagged fertiliser saved and the cost of spreading (but not sourcing) the organic materials – figures not to be sniffed at. However, the widespread decline in fertiliser prices and markets for agricultural products since the end of 2011 has, unsurprisingly, had a knock-on impact on digestate values. And with many farmers still sceptical about the benefits of what they see as an unfamiliar product, the reality for most AD operators is quite different. “WRAP’s Annual Survey of the Organics Industry reported that just 19 per cent of digestate from commercial AD plants was sold to farmers in 2013,” reveals Will McManus, Sector Specialist – Organics, at WRAP. “Prices quoted for digestate ranged from a cost to the operator of £13 per tonne, to a selling price of £3 per tonne. The average cost to the operator was £3.73 per tonne.” Many farmers across the UK are enjoying the benefits of using digestate in place of chemical fertilisers

For many commercial AD operators, digestate is therefore still a cost to the business, rather than a revenue stream. “Digestate has evolved over the last five years into a valued fertiliser – but with costs attached,” warns Alexander Maddan, Chief Executive of Agrivert. “It does not represent sufficient £/m3 to warrant much being spent on it, so operators are left with little option than to dispose of very high volumes at the lowest achievable cost per m3.” “The best option is to apply it direct from the AD plant to very local farmland, either umbilically or by using the spreader to also transport it,” continues Alexander. “From this best case scenario, costs rise every time you load it onto haulage tankers, pay for lagoon storage, or even pay for farmers to take it. Every £1/m3 spent multiplies to a profit-sapping total at the end of the year. Digestate is not for the faint-hearted!”

Communicating the agricultural benefits

According to Mark Richmond, Technical Director, Renewables & Low Carbon, for WRM, AD operators would be wise to implement a robust digestate strategy from the outset of a project. “The majority of AD operators we work with are typically receiving between 50p and £1.50 per m3 of digestate, without taking into account transport and application costs – there’s a significant gap between its potential value and its real value,” stated Mark at the ADBA National Conference 2015. “There’s a lack of digestate strategy across the industry; there seems to be a mindset that simply reaching any solution is a good solution.” However, operators don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel when looking for an end market for their digestate, believes Mark. “Agriculture is always going to be the main outlet. It can be high value, and it should be higher than the value we’re currently getting. We really need to inform the agricultural sector and push that true value.” 8

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Getting value from digestate Paul Killoughery is Director of Bio Collectors, which operates a food waste AD plant in Mitcham, Surrey. He agrees with Mark that it’s essential to educate the farming community on the benefits digestate can bring: “We have someone working full-time on farmer liaison; it needs at least as much attention as front end feedstock. We work closely with farmers to give them what they want, which is a good quality product, and welcome their feedback. For example, one farmer recently told us that applying digestate to his land instead of chemical fertiliser brought the unexpected benefit of helping to control slugs, which had been a problem on that field last year when he was using chemical fertiliser.”

Willen Biogas is using a Digestate Concentration System from HRS Heat Exchangers to reduce its storage and application requirements

Thomas Minter, Director of Malaby Biogas, is also working hard to build relationships with local farmers, but says it’s not always straightforward: “Like any product in a market place, a well-devised marketing plan is needed to engage with farmers, demonstrate the benefits of digestate and deliver a service that has value to them. Sewage sludge took many years to develop a value and in order for the AD industry to see similar results, there needs to be significant industry-wide improvements. We had good results from on-site digestate trial plots and there is good research available, such as WRAP’s DC-Agri project, but this needs to be translated into farmer speak.”

Farmers blazing the trail

Achieving the PAS 110 certification for digestate goes a long way towards helping food waste AD operators assure farmers of the quality of their product. In addition, the DC-Agri project has provided thousands of farmers with training and tools on how to use digestate, and also found that the broad range of nutrients it contains can deliver increased yields in comparison with bagged fertilisers alone. There are many farmers currently enjoying these benefits, such as Andrew Watts, Farm Manager of Wallington Farms in Hertfordshire, where Biogen’s Bygrave Lodge plant stands. “The PAS 110-certified digestate from the Biogen plant is higher in nitrogen than we were expecting; it should provide enough nitrogen for two-thirds of our crops. Plus, we’re adding organic matter to the soil,” he says. Stephen Temple, of J F Temple Farm in Norfolk, is equally pleased with the quality of digestate coming from his on-site AD plant: “It’s much more uniform than cattle manures, which can be extremely variable – one analysis per season will accurately characterise the liquor. It’s also performing better than we would expect from the nutrient analysis. We suspect this is because the balance of trace elements matches the crop requirements, as it’s what we removed from the field when we harvested the previous crop. And analysis of the soil also yields consistent results.”

Indeed, the benefits to soil structure should not be overlooked. “It’s well documented that digestate fibre is a good source of organic matter,” states Bill Griffiths, National Organics Manager for Viridor. “Repeated applications will raise soil organic matter levels and increase water holding capacity, creating a better soil structure to enable deeper root penetration down the soil profile, thereby delivering increased crop yield and profitability to the farmer.”

Overcoming digestate challenges

The financial benefits that digestate can bring to today’s farmers are worth exploring further. Adrian Williams of Willen Biogas is developing a 1.5 MW food waste AD plant on his 2,000 acre arable farm in Enfield, Middlesex. He expects to save over £90,000 per year by switching from chemical fertilisers to digestate, but was concerned about the storage and transport headaches the volume generated by a plant this size would bring. Adrian took the decision early on in the project to invest in a concentration system. “With around 41,000 tonnes of liquid digestate produced each year, size of storage facility and transportation traffic around the farm were key concerns,” he explains. “Investment in a Digestate Concentration System (DCS) from HRS Heat Exchangers will reduce our storage and application requirements by around 40 per cent.” The system reduces capital investment and creates a more efficient spreading window – with lower volumes of digestate, handling is more manageable whilst providing the same nutrient benefits. Furthermore, waste water from the DCS is returned to the front of the AD plant rather than being discharged. With no need to tanker liquid off-site, transportation costs are reduced further. Implementing a storage or concentration solution to enable the digestate to be applied to land at the right time of year is an important consideration, believes Cath Anthony of Bidwells. “Digestate storage can be an issue for AD operators; not just because of Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) requirements, which prohibit spreading at certain times of year, but also because it is of most benefit when the crop actually needs it,” she advises.

The on-site AD plant at J F Temple Farm is producing a consistent digestate

This fact could also enable operators to charge more for their product, as Dr David Tompkins, Bioresouces Development Manager for Aqua Enviro, outlined at the ADBA National Conference 2015: “Cereal crops usually have their greatest demand for nitrogen early in the growing season, from March to April, which means that crops can take up more of the nutrients present in digestate at that time of year, when compared with later in the season. This means that the prices AD operators can charge for their digestate doubles if it is applied at the right time of year.” Continued>>

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Getting value from digestate all our biosolids accredited by the Biosolids Assurance Scheme, which assures the food supply chain and consumers that recycling biosolids to agricultural land is a safe and sustainable practice. We have also developed a brand, Nutribio, which is becoming known in the agricultural sector. Although this will always be the biggest market for us, we have also developed another brand, Nutriscape, for the landscaping sector. It’s still early days, but we already have material in manufacture.” Another water company, Thames Water, invested £2m in a nutrient-recovery reactor that creates phosphorus-based fertiliser for crops and turf from its sewage sludge. If left untreated, phosphorus can cause struvite to form, settling as a rock-like scale on pipes at the sewage works until it clogs them completely. However, this technology turns struvite into crystalline fertiliser pellets, which the company markets under the brand name Crystal Green. Digestate fibre can be successfully used to grow a range of high value ornamental and edible plant species

Ensuring stability

Cath Anthony also warns operators not to focus too heavily on getting more feedstock into the digester, at the expense of what’s coming out. “While PAS 110 and the work of WRAP has really helped to increase farmers’ trust in digestate, growers can still be suspicious. It’s therefore important that AD operators deliver a stable product that will meet criteria and yield consistent results. Stability depends on how long the substrate has spent in the digester – the longer the retention time, the more stable the digestate. Operators should think carefully about the impact of pushing material through too quickly simply to get more revenue through the front end, as this will inevitably have implications at the back end.” Cath also urges operators to be aware of odour issues related to digestate. “Odour is more of a perception problem than a reality, but it does depend on the feedstock – what goes in has to come out, so food waste digestate can be more odorous. However, if it’s correctly managed and spread responsibly when conditions are right, it shouldn’t cause issues,” she confirms. And operators should consider contamination, too. “Understanding the different properties of the various types of plastic packaging is key to achieving the required digestate quality,” explains Bill Griffiths of Viridor, which operates a source-segregated food waste AD facility in Somerset, producing 2,400 tpa of digestate. “Plastic films will not break down in an AD process and so front end depackaging or use of a fine mesh strain press at the back end is vital to ensure plastic film fragments do not end up in the digestate fibre, particularly where so-called ‘compostable’ plastic bags are used. Our in-house Fertiliser Advisors Certification Training Scheme (FACTS) qualified sales team supplies a quality digestate fibre to farmer customers for use as an agricultural organic fertiliser and soil conditioner, which brings in a revenue of between £1.75-£4.00 per tonne.”

Meanwhile, Dr Nick Cheffins of Peakhill Associates has been working on a study in partnership with the University of Lincoln’s Department of Agriculture, to consider the potential of digestate for horticulture. Funded through a Defra grant managed by WRAP, and due to be published in full soon on WRAP’s website, the study concluded that anaerobic digestate fibre can be successfully used to grow a range of high value ornamental and edible plant species. “Peat-based media has been dominant since the 1970s; their performance is seen as reliable and well understood, with minimal ‘off nursery risk’,” says Dr Cheffins. “However, the current AD sector has the theoretical capacity to replace this whole market segment, estimated to be worth around £500m annually. There is a very significant potential for AD operators to convert what in most cases is a cost centre activity (the disposal of digestate) into a potential profit centre.” Bill Griffiths agrees that there is real potential here, but adds a note of caution: “Digestate fibre has the potential to make an ideal admix to green waste compost to produce a high quality, high value, peat-free horticultural growing media. Unfortunately, the AD Quality Protocol does not provide end of waste status for use of digestate in the horticultural/growing media sectors and so the potential to exploit real added value for digestate from waste feedstocks is currently restricted by regulation.”

Future opportunities

Aqua Enviro, meanwhile, is working on a thermal treatment process which could help to valorise digestate. “Digestate valorisation normally focuses on the nutrient aspects of the material, although some attempts have been made to combust the separated fibre fraction,” explains Dr David Tompkins. “Combusting the liquor fraction is energetically nonsensical, but an emerging thermal technique could offer a viable alternative. A wide range of thermal treatment options are available, which can convert organic matter to energy-rich gaseous, liquid and solid forms. Most require a dry solids feedstock (greater than 80 per cent) for successful carbonisation, so are unsuitable for digestate.

So, for operators keen to maximise the value of their digestate into the agricultural sector and turn it into a revenue stream – rather than a cost to the business – the advice is clear. Produce a stable, uncontaminated digestate which reaches PAS 110 certification standards; ensure it can be concentrated or stored safely until most needed by the crop; and work closely with local farmers to effectively communicate the nutrient and yield benefits.

Beyond farming

But what about non-farming uses for digestate? Anglian Water produces around 330,000 tonnes of digestate each year, most of which is sent to agriculture. However, the company already has an eye on future markets, as Simon Black, Biosolids Product Manager, explains: “We are the first water company to have 10

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Thames Water is turning struvite, made from phosphorus found in sewage sludge, into fertiliser pellets

Getting value from digestate A number of other recent digestate projects are also showing promise. The AD Network has funded a £60,000 ongoing Proof of Concept Award on ‘Microbial Enhancement of Phyto-Active Compound in Digestate’ with Professor Richard Dinsdale of the University of South Wales. It is hoped that the results will lead to an improved digestate product which enhances the productivity of crops, leading to greater food security and expanded markets for digestate.

Balancing the books

And there are other possibilities to consider, too. The 2011 WRAP study ‘New markets for digestate from anaerobic digestion’ concluded that composted fibre could be used as a bedding material for gardens, public flower beds and urban forestry; that separated liquor could be suitable for turf fertiliser in gardens or sports grounds; that digestate could be used for algal growth for use as animal feed, fertiliser or as feedstock for biofuels production; that Continued>>

Dr David Tompkins of Aqua Enviro believes that digestate will soon cease to be a drain on the AD process

However, hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) can be successfully applied to organic material with a solids content as low as 20 per cent. It’s a relatively simple system to design and operate, particularly in batch mode.” Dr Tompkins continues: “Whilst showing clear promise at both bench and commercial scale, there are still a number of research questions to be addressed, such as: what is the most economic temperature to operate HTC, to maximise carbon conversion to readily usable forms? And what might be the typical payback period for medium and large scale AD facilities? We are currently attempting to provide answers to these questions and more, but all the signs are that digestate will soon cease to be a drain on the AD process and become a valuable material, providing an additional income stream.” february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Getting value from digestate it could be used as a construction material; and that it could even be suitable for cellulosic ethanol production. In addition, a team from the Wales Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion at the University of South Wales, led by Professor Sandra Esteves, conducted a study on the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) – an anaerobically biodegradable plastic produced by bacteria using organic wastes – and used digestate as bacterial nutrient media. “The use of digestate resulted in nearly three times higher polymer yields compared to conventional nutrient media,” explains Professor Esteves. “Preliminary investigations concluded that the novel use of digestates can provide key elements required in bacterial growth and PHA accumulations.” Most applications of PHAs are in medicine and packaging, but demand is increasing significantly in these and other sectors, with the global bioplastics market expected to reach 17m tonnes by 2020. But while the potential for digestate is clear, commercial viability is, in many cases, still in question. As Angie Bywater of the AD Network states: “We can make many things from digestate, but can we make them stack up in economic terms? A much harder ask!” According to WRAP’s Will McManus, future prospects are bright, but there is still work to do: “The successful Driving Innovation in AD (DIAD) programme unearthed a rich vein of technical and scientific research across the AD process, delivering innovations that improve efficiency, gas yield and plant design. Unfortunately, it did not unearth groundbreaking, near market, transformation applications for digestate management. In a nutshell, there is excellent science available but we need critical economic changes (for example, an increase in chemical fertiliser prices), or fundamental changes in operational capex or opex, for commercialisation opportunities to blossom.”


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Will concludes: “Moving forward, we need to look to a world where digestate is truly valued as both a resource and an economic asset to an AD business. It’s clear that AD, as a key industry, will form an integral part in the development of a UK bioeconomy, delivering not only renewable energy but also platform chemicals, renewable nutrients and raw materials.” *Source: ‘Putting the heat on digestate’, Nigel Horan and David Tompkins, Aqua Enviro

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Technology Focus - CHP technology

Invest wisely for long term CHP success James Thompson, Head of Operations for JFS & Associates, outlines the main considerations for AD plant developers when choosing a combined heat and power (CHP) unit. With its partners, JFS & Associates currently has 10 CHP units in operation ranging from 125 kW to 500 kW in electrical output. “A CHP unit is one of the biggest investments in a single component that will be made on an AD project, and can greatly influence both performance and profitability. It is therefore critical to make the right choice. CHP units comprise of an engine, designed to run on biogas, which is linked to a generator that produces electricity. Heat is produced from the combustion of biogas in the engine and a heat exchanger captures heat from the engine’s cooling water. Heat can also be recovered from exhaust gases, which can be 500˚C, thereby maximising the thermal power available to heat digesters; for pre- or post-treatments, such as pasteurisation; or for offsite use, such as heating or drying schemes.

So, what should a developer consider when procuring a CHP unit? Firstly, size is important! A correctly sized CHP will maximise the electrical output from the biogas yield. Too small, and it won’t generate the power the biogas has the potential to give. Too big, and not only will it cost more, but it will run less efficiently and may result in a dramatic cut in operational hours due to a lack of gas availability – power will then have to be imported to run the plant, while persistent shutdowns and restarts can actually damage the plant and lead to higher maintenance costs. Consideration also needs to be given to purchasing a single unit or a twin pack. For example, should you buy one 1 MW unit, or two 500 kW units? While a twin pack allows you to keep one unit operational whilst the other is offline (for example for servicing), capital and servicing costs will be higher. Developers should bear in mind maintenance and service contracts. Does the supplier offer 24hr call out, telephone and internet support? Where are they based? What is the availability of critical spares? What are the service intervals? How many maintenance engineers are available? 14

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© Edina

In the current AD climate, CHP technology selection can often be determined by availability and delivery times, in order to avoid looming FIT degressions, or is specified by the preferred technology provider. This can mean purchasing a unit which offers a low capital cost, but which may not offer the best deal in the long run.

However, probably the most important piece of advice I can offer is to treat a CHP unit like a Formula 1 racing car. Be attentive to its needs and try to fuel it using good quality biogas. Before the CHP unit is handed over make sure it has met any performance specifications that have been set and ensure that all operators have been fully trained in how to operate it and carry out routine maintenance tasks. Daily inspections and tests should always be undertaken and logged, and performance data and trends should be reviewed for signs of reduced performance. Rather than wait to undertake routine maintenance activities such as oil changes, a strategy of condition-based maintenance should be implemented. Prevention is always better than cure and by monitoring the actual condition of the plant, maintenance can be undertaken when it needs to be done, not just when it is planned. As well as regular inspection and testing it is imperative to get to know your plant and use your senses to detect irregularities such as hearing strange noises when the engine is running; picking up unusual smells such as burning oil; seeing leaks or smoke; or feeling the unit vibrate differently. Considering a typical CHP engine might run for the equivalent of 400,000 miles per year, selecting the right unit and then investing time and money to look after it will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long run.”

To see the full version of James’ article go to

Innovative CHP solutions

Clarke Energy is an authorised distributor and service provider for GE’s reciprocating engine business. Applications include CHP with natural gas, biogas or high efficiency diesel-fuelled power generation. “Biogas is most commonly used in gas engines and converted into renewable electricity,” explains Alex Marshall, Group Marketing and Compliance Manger. “A by-product of the Clarke Energy supplies GE Jenbacher engines to a number of UK AD plants, including Tamar Energy’s Holbeach facility

Technology Focus - CHP technology combustion process is heat and, if recovered, the engine is said to operate as a CHP unit.” Alex warns AD plant operators not to underestimate the importance of maintenance if they want to get the best out of their CHP engine: “Biogas CHP engines require scheduled maintenance and for GE’s Jenbacher engines, major maintenance events occur at 20, 40 and 60,000 hours of operation. This service Finning is the sole Cat® dealer requires the engine in the UK and Ireland to be taken off site, stripped down in our overhaul facility and rebuilt.” To minimise the plant shutdown period, however, Clarke Energy can provide a refurbished swing engine short block to replace the original unit. Finning’s experience in the CHP market extends to feasibility studies, design, project management, installation, commissioning and maintenance. “When investigating the potential for CHP, assessing feasibility is the first step in the project development process,” advises Tony McDermott, Business Development Manager - Gas. “As the sole Cat® dealer in the UK and Ireland, we have a range of Cat® CG gas generators designed for maximum efficiency in extended-duty distributed generation and cogeneration applications. These include hospitals; industrial and commercial facilities; utilities; wastewater treatment plants; greenhouses; and agriculture,” continues Tony. Featuring electrical outputs ranging from 400 to 4,300 kWe, the CG132, CG170 and CG260 generator sets can operate on gases of varying quality, including natural gas, biogas, and digester and sewage gas.

Power generation specialist, Edina Group, supplies innovative natural gas and biogas CHP technology as part of Arla Foods’ long term growth and environmental strategy to develop the world’s first zero carbon milk processing facility. Edina has installed two MWM TCG 2020 V20 CHP gas engines at Arla’s Aylesbury production facility, each of which is capable of generating an electrical output of 2 MW (1.9 MW thermal output). The engines are fuelled by 90 per cent natural gas and 10 per cent biogas. The biogas is produced by Arla Food’s on-site digester, which processes the site’s influent. “The main innovative feature on this project is the biogas and natural gas mixing chamber,” explains Tony Fenton, Edina’s Joint Managing Director. “We designed and supplied the natural gas and biogas integration system, which allows the generators to operate on natural gas only, or natural gas mixed with biogas. The biogas mixing chamber maximises the amount of biogas being burnt and minimises the amount of natural gas being imported from the grid against the site’s electrical load. The biogas mixing system can also accommodate a single engine’s operation and, as such, deliver 20 per cent of the fuel requirements in the event of low electrical loads at the site,” continues Tony. “This ‘mega dairy’ sets a new benchmark in environmental standards on a global scale, achieving zero waste to landfill.” Triogen’s Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology is improving the efficiency of a CHP unit at Future Biogas’ Oak Grove Renewables plant in Scottow, Norfolk by eight per cent. ORC is a technology for converting the exhaust gas heat from CHPs into distributed power; the

Triogen’s ORC technology, in operation at Future Biogas’ Scottow plant

CHP engine can run on any energy source and the ORC converts otherwise unused heat from the engine into electricity. Philipp Lukas, Chief Executive of Future Biogas, said: “More can be done to optimise performance of biogas plants. Triogen offers a mature solution with a long track record. This allowed us to build an attractive business case while reducing the overall cost of generating power from this site.” ORC technology can be retrofitted to existing engines or installed at the beginning of a project, and is suitable for all engine-based decentralised power plants in the 1-5 MW range. By the end of 2015, Triogen had installations in most European countries, including the UK. See p24 for more details. Meanwhile, 2G Energy, manufacturer of gas operated CHP systems, has won an order for a 5 MW CHP plant; the largest in the company’s history. The project – for a leading UK sugar company – will see 2G work with a German service provider specialising in the planning and construction of biogas plants for the agricultural and industrial sectors. Two engines will together generate 5 MW of installed electrical output and all of the CHP modules – each weighing 30 tonnes and including medium voltage plants – are being installed in 8.5 metre high container structures. Delivery of the plant is planned for mid-April 2016, with commissioning scheduled for June 2016.

Further info The Arla Foods’ ‘mega dairy’ is setting a new benchmark in environmental standards

ENER-G has produced a free eGuide to small scale CHP. To download your copy go to:

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA National Conference 2015 Review

Government uncertainty fails to halt AD’s growth

Our seventh National Conference was our most anticipated to date, coming hot on the heels of the Autumn Spending Review. While responses to the Chancellor’s statement were mixed, news that £1.15bn had been allocated to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget was warmly received by the hundreds of delegates who packed into One Great George St, Westminster, on 3 December 2015.

Ambitious targets for biomethane Sponsored by:

“The event was useful for finding out what’s going on in the industry – recent government announcements were discussed at length. It was also helpful to see things from the regulators’ perspective, and to meet people more deeply involved in the AD industry.” Matthew Riddiford, Aether Energy


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Our Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, set the tone for a lively day of announcements, debate and networking. Charlotte began by launching ADBA’s latest Market Report, which revealed that 424 AD plants are now generating enough baseload energy to replace Wylfa nuclear power station. The biomethane sector has grown particularly strongly, with plant numbers quadrupling in 12 months from 10 to 40 – and the sector looks set to continue this upward trend. Charlotte highlighted that the £1.15bn RHI budget could support the construction of an additional 140 biomethane plants, representing a fourfold increase on current numbers and with the combined potential to heat almost 500,000 homes. This is not the time to take our foot off the gas, she warned: “The growth under the new RHI settlement should only be the start,” Charlotte told delegates. “Indigenous gas from AD has the potential to meet as much as 30 per cent of the UK’s domestic gas or electricity demand – or to fuel 80 per cent of HGVs. While the government’s commitment to the RHI is welcome, delivering AD’s overall potential also needs a viable Feed-in Tariff, which means increasing ambition for the scheme.”

Policy analysis

Our Strategic Adviser, Chris Huhne, agreed with Charlotte that the RHI announcement offered hope to the AD industry, but also highlighted the weaknesses in the Conservative government’s attitude to support for renewables. He warned that even though the UK has the least ambitious renewable energy target of any EU member state at just 15 per cent of primary energy consumption by 2020, attrition (ie projects that do not go ahead) may well undermine DECC’s confidence in meeting it. “It also does not make sense to cut support for renewables when oil and gas prices are falling, and raise support when oil and gas prices rise,” he stated. “By Winter 2016, peak demand may well exceed peak supply of electricity.” Chris then chaired a debate which considered where AD can make the biggest contribution between now and 2050, in which ADBA’s Head of Policy, Matt Hindle, outlined the key dates and issues surrounding support for the industry. Matt also looked at what still needs to be done to allow

ADBA National Conference 2015 Review “The policy announcements, particularly around the RHI, were very useful. The event also provided some good networking opportunities.”

“It was good to see how the commercial AD sector is developing; moving forward, I would like to see even more crossover between industry and those working within R&D.”

Hugo Bolson, Organic Resource Agency (ORA)

Peter Winter, Thames Water Utilities

AD to reach its full potential – alongside high level changes such as European directives, work to unlock more feedstocks is crucial, particularly around developing food waste policies, as is raising awareness of the non-energy benefits of AD.

Unlocking food waste

The next session, chaired by Steve Lee of CIWM, focused on resource and waste strategies in the UK. Talking about WRAP’s Food Waste Recycling Action Plan, Dr Richard Swannell told the audience: “We want to increase recycling rates, optimise efficiencies and secure quality feedstocks. Partnerships between the AD industry, waste collectors and local authorities will reap rewards.” With source segregated food waste collections still seemingly some way off for England, it was left to representatives from the Scottish and Welsh Governments to explain how separate waste collections successfully operate in their countries. “Food waste is the cornerstone of our waste strategy. We see it as integral to our climate change ambitions,” announced Gabriella Pieraccini, Head of Scotland’s Zero Waste, who added: “We want Scotland to be recognised as an international leader in the efficient use of bioresources.”

The bigger picture

In the first of the afternoon sessions, delegates were treated to a thought-provoking presentation from Matthew Bell, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change. Having

championed ADBA’s Market Report as a ‘pre-eminent read’ for the sector, Matthew explained AD’s relevance to the Committee’s work: “We need a one per cent [reduction in carbon emissions] from agriculture to 2030…that will require a range of measures, not least of which is anaerobic digestion.” Matthew also debunked the myth that renewables are a financial drain on the public purse: “We lose just two quarters of GDP growth between now and 2050 by paying for renewables,” he stated.

Looking to the future

The Conference then split into breakout sessions. The first of these focused on a zero direct subsidy world and saw ADBA’s Market Analyst, Ollie More, argue that by encouraging a thriving AD sector (as per 2014 levels), the government would help to bring down costs and make AD cheaper than nuclear by 2024. Ollie added that ADBA is setting up a Cost-Competitive Task Force to examine how the industry can fit into a zero subsidy world. Iona Capital’s Richard Barker urged government to ‘recognise the difference between dispatchable and non-dispatchable energy’. He counterbalanced that, however, by warning that while tackling capital costs is an important issue, it should never be at the expense of safety and good engineering.

honest when he revealed: “I was wrong about feedstock levels. Plants have been built in the wrong places. I thought a lot more local authorities would switch to separate food waste collections. We’ve got to think differently now. We need to think more carefully about location and stop believing that we can run an AD plant for nothing.”

The value of digestate

The day’s final session focused on the importance of digestate and bioresources for AD’s continued success. WRAP’s Nina Sweet OBE warned the audience that they should overlook digestate at their peril: “We are an industry at a crossroads. There’s no room for complacency. We have to make the most of every resource – and digestate is a resource. We have a brilliant research network here in the UK, but it needs you in this room here today to drag it into the commercial workplace.”

“The Conference provided a brilliant cross-sectional view of the industry – from small scale AD to the big picture. There were some very high level speakers who really helped to put things into context.” Angie Bywater, AD Network

Meanwhile, Best Organic Solutions’ Bill Elliott – formerly of Tamar Energy – was refreshingly

Join the voice of the AD industry Don’t miss out on this year’s major industry events. To sponsor, exhibit or attend our 2016 trade show or conference, go to

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Advice Clinic: Policy special

Changes to AD incentive schemes With the incentive landscape changing fast, ADBA’s Policy Team provides the answers to some of your common queries...

Our Policy Team Matt Hindle, Head of Policy T +44 (0)203 176 0591 E Ollie More, Market Analyst T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E Jess Allan, Environment and Regulation Manager T +44 (0)203 735 8380 E Thom Koller, Policy Officer T +44 (0)203 176 5440 E Derek Sivyer, PR & Parliamentary Affairs Manager T +44 (0)203 176 5441 E


“What Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) degression and tariff levels can we expect over the next year?”

“The structure of the RHI scheme for 2016-17 is staying almost exactly the same. However, DECC is enforcing a scheme cap and setting out new tariff degression triggers for the technologies in the scheme, which will dictate how much room there is for new biogas heat and biomethane projects before degression takes effect. Once these are set, we will be able to analyse the likelihood of degressions and likely future tariff levels. For biomethane, the uncertainty over the RHI budget means that we expect to see a hiatus in new projects opening in mid-2016, with some coming online later in the year if developers and funders are comfortable with the new budget levels.”


“When will we know what the RHI settlement means for 2017-2021?”

“While the RHI is staying the same for next year, DECC is looking to make significant changes to the management and operation of the scheme for plants opening after April 2017. These will be subject to a full consultation, probably this summer, so there will be opportunities to influence the outcome; but it is likely we won’t know final details until late 2016. We are working with DECC and our members on our priorities for the scheme. These are likely to include: • Sufficient budget for biogas heat and biomethane to continue to grow; • A form of tariff guarantee for new projects – this is particularly important with scheme spending likely to be capped in some way; • A tariff for ‘waste’ heat from CHP engines installed before December 2013; • Commitment from DECC to work with industry to make gas to grid easier.” See Policy, p28, for more information 18

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016


“Will biomethane for transport be supported in the future?”

“We are working with the Department for Transport on its proposals to amend the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), and are advocating improved support for biomethane. Changes are likely to be implemented from April 2017 as part of a package of measures to encourage the supply and use of sustainable transport fuels. As well as improved support levels, we believe that the structure of the scheme needs to be revised to ensure that prices are stable enough to allow investment in new projects. With no support available to extend Feed-in Tariff (FIT) projects under the electricity incentives, there may also be an opportunity for existing plants to expand capacity by producing biomethane for transport. We are also calling for changes to the rules which currently prevent certificated gas in the grid being used under the RTFO, to ensure the widest possible range of options are open to developers.”


“What happens now with the Feed-in Tariff (FIT)?”

“The FIT will reopen to applications for accreditation and pre-accreditation on 8 February 2016. The new quarterly capacity caps mean that a queuing system will be in place if there is no space for an application to be approved in the quarter in which it is submitted. Queued applications will be considered in the order in which they were submitted for approval, in the first quarter in which capacity is available. The consultation which led to the introduction of the capping system did not review tariffs for new AD sites – this is due to take place in a separate exercise this year. It will probably be set up to allow the government to consider FIT support alongside changes to the RHI.”

Advice Clinic: Policy special


“What happens if the ‘queue’ for AD capacity fills up?”

“With such constrained deployment limits, it is possible that the queue for pre-accreditation each quarter could become very long indeed. If the total capacity for AD is used up, no further support would be available for new projects – it is very unlikely that more funding would be released under the current scheme. The consultation response has set out a mechanism to redistribute capacity if another technology is deploying less than expected. However, all FIT renewables face severe constraints on development, so we should not rely on this possibility.”


“Where can I find more information on the latest changes to incentive schemes?”

“The main sources of information remain DECC (for policy decisions and overall statistics) and Ofgem (for eligibility questions, scheme administration and deployment data). The latter is committed to providing more detail on current deployment and applications under the new capped system. For ADBA members, our website ( and weekly update emails will continue to provide detailed information and analysis on any new developments. You can contact the Policy Team using the details opposite, and if you have any problems accessing our website, or you are not currently receiving our emails, please contact”

Next issue: Finance special With Bruce Nelson of Compass Renewables

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Plant Update

Developing a robust and reliable AD pipeline


he past 12 months have been something of a rollercoaster for the UK’s AD industry. No sooner had we celebrated the opening of the 400th plant at our trade show in July, than the new Conservative government slammed on the brakes, removing pre-accreditation for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and AD’s exemption from the Climate Change Levy. Although DECC has recently confirmed its commitment to reintroduce pre-accreditation for the FIT scheme, its ambition remains startlingly low: government will provide support for a maximum of around 20 MW of additional AD capacity each year between 2016-19. This compares to an industry deployment of 48 MW in 2014 alone. And although the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget has been expanded, there is uncertainty surrounding the structure of the scheme after 2017 – it’s easy to see why some AD developers are finding it difficult to attract funding. Nevertheless, ours is still a rapidly growing and maturing sector, and there are plenty of good news stories to tell. As our snapshot of some of the new projects planned for 2016 outlines below, there is still plenty of activity set to take place over the next 12 months, representing all corners of the AD industry – from small scale on-farm plants, to large food waste facilities. However, with government looking to continue to reduce subsidies for renewable energy, today’s developers understand that only efficient AD operations, where every aspect of the process is optimised to ensure maximum return on investment, stand the best chance of success. Building and maintaining a pipeline of safe, efficient and robust AD plants will ensure our industry continues to thrive, with the overall aim of developing the best performing AD industry in the world.

1 Gravel Pit Biogas Ltd

Location: Sand Hutton, York Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Cattle manure, slurry, grass and maize silage, broiler muck, beet and stock potatoes Output: 250 m3/hr biomethane, plus 250 kW CHP Projected completion date: August 2016 ADBA member involvement: Developer JFS & Associates Info supplied by: JFS & Associates

2 Tamar Energy Knowsley

Location: Knowsley, Liverpool Current stage of development: Planning Input: Food waste Output: 3 MW Projected completion date: 2017/18 ADBA member involvement: Developer Tamar Energy Info supplied by: Tamar Energy

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

2 3 6

5 8

4 7

9 10 11


14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22

3 MJ & MC Thomasson Location: Mondrum, Cheshire Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 500 kW, expanding to 1 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

4 Merrivale Energy Ltd

6 Stockton Energy Ltd

Location: Stockton Grange, Newport Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 500 kW, expanding to 1 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

Location: Plungar, Nottinghamshire Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry, crops Output: 500 kW, expanding to 1 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

5 G & A Powell

Location: Newtown, Powys Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas



7 Corbett Farms Ltd Location: Atherstone, Warwickshire Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Poultry litter, crops Output: 1 MW Projected completion date: 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas


Plant Update 8 RJ Hughes & Co

Location: Caersws, Powys Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

9 JL Jones & Co

Location: Craven Arms, Shropshire Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Poultry litter, crops Output: 250 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

13 Allen’s Farm

Location: Colchester, Essex Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Energy crops, farm waste, by-products including brewers' grain Output: 499 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Twin-Tank Pasteurisation System supplier HRS Heat Exchangers; developer Fullcircle Energy Info supplied by: HRS Heat Exchangers

14 Tamar Energy Hoddesdon

Location: Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire Current stage of development: Construction/ commissioning Input: Food waste Output: 3 MW Projected completion date: Spring/summer 2016 ADBA member involvement: Developer Tamar Energy Info supplied by: Tamar Energy

18 Sustainable Energy Generation Ltd

Location: South Petherton, Somerset Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Poultry litter, farmyard manure, slurry, maize silage, grass silage, whole crop, energy beet Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Biogest UK; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

19 Cranbrook Renewables Ltd

Location: Normansland, Devon Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Slurry, waste cattle feed, waste silage, farmyard manure Output: 700 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

10 Hall Farm

Location: Snitton, Ludlow Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry Output: TBC Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

11 Warren Farm (Powys) Ltd Location: Knighton, Powys Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Poultry litter, crops Output: 250 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

15 Willen Biogas

Location: Enfield, Middlesex Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Food waste Output: 1.5 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Digestate Concentration System supplier HRS Heat Exchangers Info supplied by: HRS Heat Exchangers

16 Condate Biogas Ltd

Location: South Molton, Devon Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Poultry litter, farmyard manure, maize silage, grass silage, whole crop, energy beet Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Biogest UK; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

20 Southwestern Sustainability Ltd

Location: Tiverton, Devon Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 1 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Marches Biogas and Greener For Life

21 Green Puffin Ltd

Location: Crewkerne, Somerset Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Slurry, waste cattle feed, waste silage, farmyard manure Output: 450 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Biogest UK; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

12 Bryn Power

Location: Hengoed, Mid Glamorgan Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Food waste, slurry, poultry litter, crops Output: 1 MW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas Info supplied by: Marches Biogas

17 Willand Biogas

Location: Willand, Devon Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Food waste, poultry litter, farmyard manure, slurry, maize and grass silage, whole crop, energy beet Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Marches Biogas; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

22 Gorst Energy Ltd

Location: Exeter, Devon Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Poultry litter, farmyard manure, slurry, maize silage, grass silage, whole crop, energy beet Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Early 2016 ADBA member involvement: Technology provider Biogest UK; developer Greener For Life Info supplied by: Greener For Life

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


UK AD & Biogas 2016 Preview

The leading global trade show for AD & bioresources UK


his summer, UK AD & Biogas 2016 – the only trade show and conference dedicated to AD, biogas and bioresources – will have a truly international feel. After a phenomenally successful six years, which has seen the event grow by 560 per cent, this year’s show will take on a global focus, covering not just the UK but also the largest and fastest growing AD markets around the world. The free to attend, two-day event (6-7 July 2016, NEC Birmingham, UK) will take an in-depth look at the different AD technologies and process efficiencies in use worldwide; the market drivers for AD growth in different regions; differences in international incentives and regulations; and the varieties of feedstocks being treated around the globe. Featuring a range of success stories and case studies from all corners of the world – as well as a greater focus on R&D, innovation and the extraction of higher value products from the AD process – UK AD & Biogas 2016 is the premier international trade show for anyone interested in AD, biogas and bioresources.


Walt Disney World sends uneaten food and sewage waste to AD

Over 180 on-farm AD plants treat agricultural feedstocks such as manures, slurries and crops

Brazil GE and SVE to build 8.5 MW biogas plant in Rio Grande do Sul state

Come together at the premier international biogas event

We are now inviting delegations from around the world to come together at UK AD & Biogas 2016. Whether you’re from South America, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa or Australasia, if you’re interested in anaerobic digestion, then we want to hear from you!

• Speakers. Do you have an interesting, unique or innovative AD project you’d like to share? Have you developed a new AD process or technology? Are you treating an unusual feedstock type? Is your AD project impacting positively on local communities? Then you could be just the speaker we’re looking for – contact today. 22

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

• E xhibitors. Want to raise the profile of your AD business? Keen to meet potential clients from around the world? Looking to network with the global AD community? Want to increase your sales? Then book your stand at UK AD & Biogas 2016 today – with 75 per cent of stands already booked, space is filling fast. Contact to see the latest floorplan and book your prime stand location.

• Visitors. Featuring one-to-one advice clinics, over 300 exhibitors, an international pavilion, a high-level conference, R&D Hub, seminar sessions, a biomethane vehicle area, and an AD site visit, this is our most impressive array of FREE content ever. Can you afford to miss out? Register now to beat the queues at

UK AD & Biogas 2016 Preview “The most important event for the AD industry. The profile of visitors is exceptional.”

“A key event in the AD calendar, bringing together experts spanning the sector. An invaluable resource.”

“A great opportunity to network within the industry and attract potential new customers.”

Eike Liekweg, Agraferm Technologies AG – confirmed exhibitor for 2016

Stephen Gibb, Balmoral Tanks – confirmed exhibitor for 2016

Anaergia – confirmed exhibitor for 2016

France Cheese-powered biogas plant produces enough energy to supply Alpine community of 1,500

“An excellent platform to meet our UK customers and also European AD plant manufacturers. Last year we experienced a large increase in international visitors to our stand, especially from Asia and the US.” John Booth, Pumpenfabrik Wangen GmbH – confirmed exhibitor for 2016

Thailand Methane recovered from the wastewater output of local starch and palm oil producers

Join the following international exhibitors • Agraferm Technologies • Air Liquide Advanced Technologies • Anaergia • Balmoral Tanks • Edina • GE Monsal • Netzsch Pumps • Pumpenfabrik Wangen GmbH • Siemens • Thyson And many more…

Australia On-site digester helps NSW piggery become Australia’s first ‘carbon farm’

Kenya Pay as you go biogas technology delivering power to farming communities

90% 87%

560% 70% growth since 2010

of visitors rate the event as good to excellent of exhibitors rate the event as good to excellent

of exhibitors rebooked from 2015

Find out more Contact for the latest exhibitor info, or go to

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Members’ News & Views Triogen/Future Biogas: ORC Technology improves AD plant efficiency ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, was a guest speaker at the inauguration of the first Triogen ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) power plant in the UK, at Future Biogas’ Oak Grove Renewables plant in Norfolk. Our Marketing Manager, Vera Gerson, went along to find out more…

er memb


Commissioned in 2013, the 2.4 MW Oak Grove facility is Future Biogas’ fourth plant in an impressive portfolio of 10. Built using Agraferm core technology and two Jenbacher CHP units, it is one of the largest crop fed plants in the country, generating sufficient energy to power 5,500 homes each year. With the addition of the Triogen ORC – which will convert the otherwise unused heat from the engine into electricity – the hourly output will improve by a further 127 kW on average, powering an extra 300 homes a year. No additional inputs or significant operational costs are required; in simple terms, the ORC provides an additional eight per cent output (for the one CHP unit on which it is installed), using just 40 per cent of the unused heat from the plant.

Philipp Lukas of Future Biogas and ADBA’s Charlotte Morton with the Triogen ORC technology

Special guest at the inauguration was Deputy Dutch Ambassador to the UK, Margriet Leemhuis, who lauded the project ‘a showcase of the successful cooperation between Dutch and British businesses’. Charlotte Morton, meanwhile, was keen to highlight the cost-saving benefits the partnership will deliver, stating: “It is innovative technologies like this that will continue to drive down the price of generating vital baseload energy, which in turn will help our industry to deliver energy that is cheaper than new nuclear by the time Hinkley Point C comes online.” Charlotte added: “To remain economically viable in the current policy climate, technologies must adapt to optimise their efficiency.”

Philipp Lukas, Chief Executive of Future Biogas, acknowledged the importance of process optimisation for the AD industry: “There is still more that can be done to optimise the performance of biogas plants,” he advised. “We are pleased to work with Triogen as they offer a mature solution with a long track record and very high efficiency levels. This allowed us to build an attractive business case while reducing the overall cost of generating power from the site.” Philipp continued: “ORC is only one improvement in AD, however. Others include feedstock preparation and operational improvement – there are a lot of options.”

Henning von Barsewisch, Chief Executive of Triogen, has plans for many more ORCs in the UK


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

The final word of the day went to Henning von Barsewisch, Chief Executive of Triogen, who commented: “Our technology is a contribution to making decentralised generation more affordable, which will be an important factor for reaching the politically agreed emission targets. Converting the excess heat available from a biogas plant into electricity reduces the cost of producing power from the plant. Thus, we offer a key technology towards making biogas more cost effective.” Two other Triogen ORC projects are already planned in the UK, and Mr von Barsewisch has ambitions beyond this. “We will not stop at three ORCs in the UK!” he promised. See Technology Focus: CHP on p14

Members’ News & Views Farmer consortium chooses HRS to pasteurise digestate HRS Heat Exchangers has won an order for its innovative three tank pasteurisation system from Agri-Gen. Owned by a consortium of six farmers, Suffolk-based Agri-Gen operates a 4 MW AD plant using a range of agricultural feedstocks. The new pasteuriser will help improve the company’s biosecurity, preventing the transfer of weeds, crop pests and diseases around the farmers’ landbank. HRS’ three tank system means that while one tank

is being heated and pasteurised, another is being emptied and the third is being filled, resulting in a continuous operation. The new unit is expected to be commissioned by the end of March. “The majority of material that feeds our plant is taken from our own land and the digestate goes back to our own land, but this is about making sure we don’t have problems,” explained Agri-Gen’s Graham Thorne. Agri-Gen’s Suffolk plant uses a range of agricultural feedstocks

CPI helps turn food waste into graphite An innovative collaboration between industry and academia is turning anaerobically digested food waste into high value graphitic carbon and renewable hydrogen (RH2). Funded by the European Union, the PlasCarb consortium is composed of eight partners from five European countries, including the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). Using an innovative low energy microwave plasma process, the project will create graphite and RH2, both valuable products. The EU has designated graphite as one of the EU’s 14 economically critical raw materials; it is increasingly used in batteries and in advanced electronics and fuel cells, with a global market value of approximately $10m per annum.

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Members’ News & Views

Global News WELTEC going forward down under WELTEC BIOPOWER and its project partner Aquatec Maxon have started work on a biogas plant in the Melbourne suburb of Aurora. The 1 MW facility will be one of the first of its kind in Australia. Pat McCafferty, Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water, where the plant is being built, said: “Through the biogas production, Yarra Valley Water (a water supply and sewerage service) will become energy self-sufficient. This facility will provide an environmentally sustainable solution for commercial organic wastes, generating enough renewable energy to run the existing sewage and recycled water treatment plants, as well as other Yarra Valley Water facilities.” WELTEC is also constructing its second biogas plant in South Korea. Located 80km north of the capital, Seoul, the 450 kW facility is expected to go live later this year. The 1 MW facility near Melbourne

Korean subsidiary for Agraferm

The Korean delegation join the Agraferm sales team in Austria

Agraferm Technologies AG is expanding into the Asian market with the establishment of a subsidiary, af biogas, in Seoul, South Korea. Dr -Ing. Kyong-Hee Choi, Korean representative for af biogas, explains: “We are planning to build the first plant next year, with two more plants to be added in 2017. The plants are going to be started up initially with in-house operation, so that we can adequately train the personnel and guarantee reliable transfer of our efficient project management and technology knowledge.” In addition, Agraferm is celebrating the opening of three new UK facilities: Metheringham, near Lincoln, the firm’s tenth UK biomethane facility; Decoy Farm, near Peterborough; and Methwold, Norfolk. This brings the company’s UK total to an impressive 20 AD plants.

Landia chopper pumps prove a safe bet at US biodigester The 2 MW plant in Milwaukee uses ten Landia chopper pumps

Schmack Biogas wins contracts in Bulgaria and France Schmack Biogas, in collaboration with Balkanika Energy PLC, is building a 500 kW AD plant at a cow and dairy farm in Bulgaria, using liquid cow manure, fodder rest, straw, maize silage and whey from a cheese dairy as feedstock. Michael Groth, Head of Sales for Schmack Biogas, said: “The project stands out not only due to its production of energy from a difficult substrate (whey), but also because there is great potential for process optimisation – the heat and some of the biogas will be used in the production process, instead of diesel fuel.” The company has also been awarded a contract for the construction of a 500 Nm3/h biomethane plant in Épaux-Bézu (Picardy), northern France, for customer Letang Hoche Biogaz, SARL, a joint enterprise formed by local farmers. France is the biggest agricultural producer in the EU and offers great potential for AD development.


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

A suite of 10 Landia chopper pumps is playing a vital role in the success of a biogas plant in Milwaukee, USA. Located adjacent to the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, the $18.5m FCPC Renewable Generation Biodigester treats up to 120,000 gallons per day of high strength wastes, producing up to 2 MW of electricity (enough to power 1,500 homes). Designed with an external knife system to prevent large solids from entering the casings, the Landia chopper pumps handle incoming food waste from numerous local food and beverage manufacturers. Christopher Winkowski, Plant Manager for Natural Systems Utilities, which operates the plant, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to focus on sustainable model opportunities, we very much require top quality, long-lasting equipment. Landia’s chopper pumps are proving extremely reliable and blockage-free. The pumps are capable of handling all types of food waste which, more often than not, has aggressively low pH levels, which corrode pumps that aren’t up to the job.”

Members’ News & Views Multi-channel supply – who picks up the pieces when things go wrong? Jonathan Smith from Balmoral Tanks considers how having a single supplier for an entire AD project could be the most cost effective option if issues occur

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There is an old adage in the construction industry; ‘expensive today, cheap tomorrow’. With the stakes being so high on product performance within the AD market, it is time for end users to seriously consider their project liability portfolios, particularly when there is more than one supplier on a single project. Products purchased via a multi-channel supply chain are manufactured by one company, delivered by another and installed by another. Who is actually accountable for the end product and liable for the warranty certificate if procurement is carried out through a multi-channel system? With international markets opening up for AD, Balmoral is experiencing an increase in requests for supervision-based installation input only, which is usually either resource or budget driven. Developers are focusing on pre-install factors and not paying enough attention to post-install implications. Yes, it may be more costly for clients to employ a direct installation crew from the source manufacturer. However, based on a hypothetical tank cost of £1m, it’s reasonable to estimate that the average increased spend for a direct installation crew versus a third party supervisor would be £50,000. Is it worth putting the project warranty into the hands of a multi-channel supply chain for the sake of a five per cent saving?

Operator News Tamar Energy and Amey sign Isle of Wight food waste deal Tamar Energy has signed a five-year deal to process approximately 5,000 tpa of municipal food waste from the Isle of Wight. The agreement will see public services provider Amey deliver the kerbside collected food waste on behalf of Isle of Wight Council to the AD company’s Basingstoke facility. Charlie Flounders, Tamar Energy’s Head of Feedstock, said: “This deal ensures food waste is used to generate green electricity for UK homes, rather than being buried or burned. It’s another demonstration that AD is a genuine waste management option for local authorities that delivers tangible financial and environmental benefits.”

If something were to go wrong, how much could the repair costs amount to and who would pick up the bills? The solution is surely to remove the potential for such issues occurring in the first place. A single source supplier results in one point of contact if product performance and warranty issues need to be considered – and peace of mind for the developer.

Biogen turns Christmas leftovers into green energy A staggering 15,000 tonnes of festive food – the same weight as 45 Boeing 747s – was transformed into renewable energy by Biogen over the holiday season. Food waste volumes typically increase over the Christmas period by as A fraction of the 15,000 tonnes of Christmas much as 30 per cent and food waste being recycled at Biogen’s newest with plant capacity strictly AD plant at Merevale, Warwickshire regulated by planning and environmental permits, Biogen worked closely with its customers to cope with the increased levels of demand. Simon Musther, Head of Commercial Operations, said: “Each customer has a different requirement so, starting in October, our Customer Support team contacted each client to understand what they were likely to need and then agreed a bespoke action plan to support them. Over Christmas and New Year, our operation teams processed food waste throughout the night to ensure they were ready to receive the early morning influx the next day. The average turnaround time was less than 20 minutes, which is unheard of at such an incredibly busy time of year.”

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News



DECC continues work on short and long term future of RHI


ollowing the announcement of the 2016-21 RHI budget in the Spending Review, DECC is continuing to work on the two packages which will dictate the short and longer-term future of the scheme: first, some immediate regulatory changes to extend the scheme rules in 2016-17; and second, preparing for a full consultation on how the RHI will operate from April 2017.

Issues for 2016-17

At the time of writing, DECC is working on amendments to extend the current scheme rules into 2016-17. We expect the Department to enforce a total cap on the RHI budget, and it will also need to set out degression triggers for individual technologies (including biomethane and biogas heat) and the scheme as a whole. We have made strong representations on the trigger levels, with the aim of ensuring that sufficient resource is allocated to biomethane and biogas to take account of existing developments, and to allow future growth, without risking major degression. However, DECC will need to balance this against other priorities for the scheme. No date has been set for an announcement on the 2016-17 regulations but, as they will need to be approved by Parliament before April, we expect them to be published imminently – check our website for the latest news (

Issues for the longer-term scheme

DECC intends to consult on the operation of the RHI for 2017-21 later this year. It is likely to take a wider view of the operation of the scheme, the technologies it supports, and the value for money it offers. •S ustainability criteria and feedstock eligibility Sustainability criteria have been enforced for plants claiming the RHI since October 2015. From the industry’s perspective, the review will offer a chance to assess how the existing rules are working. The government retains the 28

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

right to change criteria for existing projects, but may also consider the shape of industry development and whether to place greater restriction on crop feedstocks in the future. • Pre-accreditation with tariff guarantees In the last parliament, DECC consulted on tariff guarantee proposals and said it would consider introducing them in the future. With a cap on total expenditure likely, we consider this particularly important to give developers and investors the certainty they need, and have pushed DECC hard to include such proposals in the consultation. • Assessing the size of biomethane projects Under the current scheme, judging the ‘capacity’ of a biomethane plant is important for calculating how much budget a project is expected to receive, which is then used in the degression methodology. DECC and Ofgem currently rely on the applicant’s declared levels of expected injection; however, in practice, actual injection levels have not always matched expected levels. This will become more important under a system of pre-accreditation which includes tariff guarantees. DECC is likely to be concerned that developer estimates have been inaccurate in the past, are not independently verifiable, and could allow ‘gaming’ or anti-competitive behaviour. • Biogas heat eligibility The biogas heat market is developing strongly, and we expect many pre-accredited FIT plants that are building between now and October 2016 to use CHP heat. In setting up the existing RHI, little was known about likely biogas heat deployment and uses, so the better intelligence now available will be used to ensure that the scheme is well designed and supports the government’s aim to get good value for money. We would be grateful for members’ perspectives on this, and particularly on the technologies supported for biogas heat use.

Policy FIT consultation response – what you need to know Shortly before Christmas, DECC responded to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) consultation and set out its plans for the future of the scheme. The main points to note are: • FIT will remain open to new applications in 2016-19, but will no longer support extensions; • Support will be capped, allowing a maximum of 5 MW of AD capacity each quarter; • Pre-accreditation with tariff guarantees will be re-established; • Tariffs for AD will be consulted on in 2016, alongside proposals for sustainability criteria.

For up to the minute information and advice on regulations, consultations and government news, contact our Head of Policy, Matt Hindle T +44 (0)203 176 0591 E former option would set tariffs according to deployment in 2015, and the latter according to applications in the first quarter of 2016. We are seeking clarification on this point, and will circulate more information to members when it becomes available.

While there was relief over the decision to reinstate pre-accreditation, DECC’s ambition for total deployment remains startlingly low: government has confirmed that it will provide support for a maximum of around 20 MW of additional AD capacity each year between 2016-19. This compares to the industry’s deployment of 48 MW in 2014 alone. DECC has also confirmed that when FIT pre-accreditation returns from 8 February 2016, approved projects will have one year to build and commission from the first day of the quarter of the capping system in which they are approved. At the time of writing it is still not clear whether tariffs in the early part of 2016/17 – prior to the full tariff consultation – will be set according to the existing degression mechanism or according to the new mechanism set out in the consultation response. The

CIRCULAR ECONOMY PACKAGE ENCOURAGES SEPARATE FOOD WASTE COLLECTIONS The EU has launched its Circular Economy Package (CEP), setting out the legislative agenda for the next four years. This will influence member state objectives and targets within the AD industry up to 2030. Key announcements include: • End of waste: Material going through a recovery process – such as AD – will not be considered waste; • Food waste: All member states have been asked to ‘take measures’ (not a mandatory objective) on food waste collections and record progress of these actions for a future report to be drafted by the European Environment Agency; • Biowaste: The CEP recommends that biowaste should be collected separately to help boost overall recycling rates; • Landfill: A new target to limit landfilling across the EU (including biodegradable waste) to 10 per cent by 2030 is being introduced.

Although falling somewhat short of what we were hoping for in terms of mandatory food waste collections, we welcome the progress and vision outlined in the CEP. We look forward to working with the European Commission and UK government in ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of biowaste collections, and that it continues to contribute to the burgeoning bioeconomy. We will of course keep members up to date on any new information that comes to light over the coming months.

These measures are with the European Parliament and European Council for consideration. Once agreed, they must be implemented into UK law within 18 months, which could see them coming into force from 2018. Further provisions to be finalised which could impact on our members include Best Available Techniques Reference Documents (BREFs), and revisions to the Fertilisers Regulation, which will include provisions for the biofertiliser industry and end of waste proposals for digestate.

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Government & Agency News Waste in Westminster Our PR & Parliamentary Affairs Manager, Derek Sivyer, reports on the latest waste news from Parliament

EA confirms changes to Standard Rules permits Last year, the Environment Agency (EA) undertook a consultation on proposed changes to several Standard Rules permits, including those for landspreading and digestate storage (SR2010 No 4, 5 and 6). The Agency has now published a summary of all consultation responses (including ADBA’s), and the decisions it has taken.

Parliament favours anaerobic digestion for food waste disposal While the government drags its feet over action to reduce council tax bills by diverting food waste from expensive landfill through segregated collection services, ADBA was pleased to see that the House of Commons has acted to send on-site food waste from Parliament’s canteens to AD. In a Parliamentary Question to the representative of the cross-party House of Commons Commission, Tom Brake MP, it was revealed that catering food waste produced on the parliamentary estate is segregated and sent to an anaerobic digester. If England’s waste strategy followed the example of Parliament and diverted all inedible food waste from landfill and incineration to AD, the industry could generate enough additional indigenous green gas to power 750,000 homes. Not only that, but nutrient-rich biofertiliser produced during the AD process improves food production and soil quality, reversing soil degradation trends that are estimated to cost the UK about £1.4 billion each year. AD also has a vital role in decarbonising electricity, heat, farming and transport, potentially reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent. Industry is justifiably questioning the government’s logic in not pursuing a ban on food waste to landfill. If segregating food waste for AD is right for Parliament, isn’t it also right for the rest of the UK?

Any operators who undertake spreading or storage under the above permits are strongly recommended to read all of Section 3 of the document. However, key points from the update include the following: • The EA has stated that it appears ‘appropriate not to proceed with the proposal to change the storage duration at this time’. The EA will review this position in 2016 and may re-consult if necessary; • The EA has decided ‘not to proceed with an outright ban on spreading high readily available nitrogen (RAN) waste in groundwater safeguard zones (SGZs) as detailed in the consultation, but to impose lesser restrictions, namely maximum application rates and no-spreading periods, to protect vulnerable groundwater’; • The EA is proceeding with the proposal to require pre-notification of spreading. The EA has also published amendments to additional rule sets, including SR2012 No 9, 10, 11 and 12, which authorise the operation of AD plants; the changes are minor or are expected changes relating to the implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). The changes will take effect on 1 March 2016 for existing permit holders, although for new applicants, they came into effect on the date of publication (1 December 2015). We will continue to update members on any developments, but if you have any queries in the meantime, please contact See feature, ‘Getting value from digestate’, p8

FAO highlights role of biogas in fish farming The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), an arm of the United Nations, has highlighted the role anaerobic digestion has to play in fish farming. The report, ‘A Guide to Recirculation Aquaculture’, demonstrates how biogas can form part of an integrated, environmentally-sound, recirculation system. As demand for food grows, more efficient forms of food production are being considered, and intensive farming is likely to increase. Inputs can be managed more precisely in these closed systems, and AD clearly has a role to play in managing the co-products.


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Operator & Working Groups Operator Groups to share experiences and solutions As the industry develops more operational capacity and experience, it is more important than ever for operators to share, develop and implement operational best practice, and to discuss solutions to the key issues affecting the industry – from agronomy, gate fees and BREF, to industry training and best practice. We’ll be setting out a timetable for meetings shortly but if you have any questions or would like to discover more, please visit the members’ area of our website ( or contact Alex Monks, our Membership Development Manager:

Roadmap for Working Groups in 2016 We are reorganising and adapting our Working Groups to better reflect and overcome the challenges which may affect future industry growth. Working with our current chairs and active members, we’ll be setting out a roadmap for each group in 2016, highlighting key barriers and identifying solutions which could help push forward policy, both for the benefit of our members and for the wider UK AD sector. To find out more contact Ed Gavaghan, our Event Producer:

Our Operator and Working Groups cover the whole spectrum of the AD industry, shaping debate, raising standards and influencing policy within the UK and EU more widely. The past twelve months featured important meetings for our Crop Operator and Food Waste Operator Groups, as well as for our Biomethane, Transport and Training & Safety Working Groups, and we will be looking to proactively build upon this activity throughout 2016.

Industry-led Best Practice Scheme takes leap forward As part of our work to develop a Best Practice Scheme for the AD industry, we will be working closely with our existing Operator and Working Groups, which will be the key forums for ADBA members who want to learn more or get involved. The scheme’s steering group brings together representatives of the key organisations whose work is relevant to the UK AD industry (including WRAP, REA, CIWM, NFU and ESA), to ensure it has wide support. The steering group will play a crucial role in the development of the Best Practice Scheme, in particular helping us to define what we should focus on and what it should deliver. The development of the scheme will be a fundamental piece of work for us in 2016 (and beyond), and has the support and backing of Defra, the Environment Agency (EA) and other relevant regulatory bodies in the UK. It is being coordinated by our Environment and Regulation Manager, Jess Allan (, who is more than happy to receive members’ queries. Keep an eye on the ADBA website and on our weekly update emails for the latest information, or see p7.

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


R&D Update / ADBA Research & Innovation Forum Preview The future contribution of research to AD cost-competitiveness


© FM BioEnergy

s part of our plans to find pathways to support future growth in AD, we have set up a Cost Competitiveness Task Force to consider how the industry can remain competitive in an environment of decreasing subsidy rates. We need to bring together government representatives, technology providers, financiers, operators and researchers to focus on policies, technologies and operational changes that could reduce costs, raise revenues or lower risks. Ideally, a carbon price would support the industry in remaining competitive by pushing up the cost of fossil fuel generation and methane emissions. However, the industry cannot rely on this, so we must consider alternative methods of improving our competitiveness. Some of the ways in which competitiveness can be improved include: • Reducing capital costs – could technology suppliers build digesters for less if each supplier was building 50 plants per year across the UK?

For information and advice on our R&D activities, contact our Market Analyst, Ollie More T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E • Reducing operating costs – eg reducing downtime or gaining economies of scale in maintenance; • Increasing energy outputs; • Receiving an income for digestate – or, at least, not paying for its disposal; • Siting plants close to uses of heat and carbon dioxide, or producing higher-value chemicals – we are aware of at least three AD plants which already supply CO2 to greenhouses; • Policy support, such as restrictions to landfill and incineration; • Reducing feedstock costs – could new, lower cost feedstocks be brought into the market thanks to the development of pre-treatment technologies? • Lowering the real and perceived risk of investing in AD, and therefore lowering the rate of return required by financiers. This could result from more stable government policy that provides a clear income stream, along with an improvement in best practice; • Recognising and monetising AD’s benefits to farming and carbon saving outside of the energy market. While costs have fallen since the early years of test-scale AD projects, and outputs have increased, future cost reductions will be more difficult to attain. And as we cannot expect the cost of steel, concrete, copper or staff to fall, it is imperative that research is carried out to support all the areas outlined above, and more.

Translate research into profitability

In partnership with

Supported by


We are delighted to invite members to join us for our sixth annual Research and Innovation (R&I) Forum on 6-7 April at the University of York, held in partnership with the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC). This year, we’ve expanded the event to include innovation; if research is about turning money into knowledge, and innovation is about turning knowledge into money, then we clearly need to be looking at how the academic world interacts with industry to ensure that investment in research is translated into supporting a thriving AD sector.

So, come along to this leading annual event to hear from the academic community about the research they are undertaking, and from the industry innovators translating research into profitability.

The UK AD industry has an excellent academic base, with hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers already published. And as subsidies fall and feedstock availability becomes an ever greater challenge, it is imperative that industry makes more use of that academic base to support the extraction of ever greater methane yields from existing feedstocks; in monitoring plant parameters and identifying improvements; in improving our environmental performance; in establishing pre-treatment techniques to bring in new lower cost feedstocks; and in producing new higher value products, such as biochemicals.

To register your interest email or go to

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Get involved We are working with the AD Network and others on delivering research and providing the research base for industry to make AD more cost-competitive, but we also need the industry to invest in research. Let our Market Analyst, Ollie More, know what areas of research you think need prioritising to support the long-term success of the industry.

Regions News from the regions Green Investment Bank commits £1.7m to Northern Irish AD plant UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) and Foresight Group LLP (Foresight) have committed £1.7m to the construction of a £3.4m AD plant in Armagh, Northern Ireland. The 500 kW plant will be built and operated by Northern Irish engineering company Williams Industrial Services for a local farming family. It will process silage, slurry, chicken litter and beet, and is expected to generate around 3,600 MWh of renewable electricity and save approximately 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. This is the third Northern Irish AD project that GIB and Foresight have funded, the others being located in County Tyrone and County Down. Ed Northam, Head of Investment Banking for GIB, said: “Investing in anaerobic digestion encourages rural businesses to be self-sufficient. The process creates energy generators out of those who would otherwise just be energy users, giving them the ability to make money by exporting electricity and producing fertilisers while simultaneously saving them money. Northern Ireland has once again proven that it is awake to that opportunity.”

South Wales food recycling hub opens for business A newly-opened AD plant is set to become a hub of food waste recycling in South Wales for the next 15 years, thanks to a partnership between Biogen and three of the region’s councils: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough; Newport; and Methyr Tydfil County Borough. The facility at Bryn Pica, which can process up to 22,500 tonnes of food waste, is expected to save the three localities an estimated £2m by the partnership end date of 2030. Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant, commented: “This project is a great example of the effective use of collaboration and joint working between local authorities, the private sector and the Welsh Government. These projects also bring with them economic benefits for the local area.”

The Bryn Pica AD plant was officially opened by Julian O’Neill, Biogen Chief Executive, and Carl Sargeant, Welsh Minister for Natural Resources

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


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Upcoming Events

1 Mar 2016

4 Apr 2016

6-7 ApR 2016

ADBA’s Parliamentary Reception will increase awareness of AD amongst MPs and ADBA Parliamentary peers. Including high level networking, MP drop-ins, speeches from industry experts and government representatives, and light refreshments, the reception will highlight Reception Churchill Room, House of Commons, London

AD’s role in sustainable farming, and its invaluable contribution to UK farming resilience and the wider rural economy. See p6 for full details.

ADBA Finance Forum

This event will consider developments arising from the 2016 Budget announcement, and how any changes could impact the AD industry. Representatives from a range of finance sectors will meet to assess the implications of developments in the government’s energy policy, evaluate any new funding streams which may be available, and discuss what changes should be introduced so that investors can have confidence in AD.

BDO LLP offices, London

ADBA Research & Innovation Forum 2016

Join us to discover the future of AD in 2016, at an event which will bring together the AD industry, academia and the public sector. See p32 for full details. In partnership with

Supported by

The University of York

21 Apr 2016

May 2016 (date tbc)

ADBA Members’ Meeting Ashfords LLP offices, London

ADBA Regulatory Forum Venue tbc

UK AD & Biogas 2016 6-7 Jul 2016

6 jul 2016

Hall 3, NEC Birmingham

UK AD & Biogas Industry Awards Birmingham (tbc)

This free to attend, member-only event will provide policy and regulatory updates, as well as details of ADBA’s recent activities. Featuring presentations from our policy team; our Strategic Advisor, Chris Huhne; government departments such as DECC, Defra and DfT; and regulators Ofgem and the Environment Agency, ADBA members will have the chance to assess how the industry is developing as government policy moves away from direct subsidies. This is also an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and network with fellow members.

This free to attend, member-only event will tackle the most important regulatory issues facing our industry. AD operators, consultants and developers will be kept abreast of the latest changes to regulations and compliance structures through presentations from the core regulators, and will also have the chance to feed back their views.

The leading event for AD, biogas and bioresources showcases the latest AD technology and services from over 300 exhibitors. The show is expanding to have a global outlook and will include a high-level summit featuring worldwide industry leaders and influencers; a free two-day conference; technical sessions; workshops; an AD plant visit; biomethane vehicle area; advice clinics; R&D Hub; and much more. The event will also play host to our fifth annual awards ceremony (see below). Stand space is filling fast – book your stand today by contacting See p22 for more details.

Does your AD business or project deserve wider recognition? Then make sure to enter our fifth annual industry awards, which will reward AD innovation and achievement from the past 12 months and simultaneously raise the profile and highlight the benefits of AD, both globally and in the UK. Incorporating a drinks reception, three-course dinner with wine, and entertainment, this event is also an excellent networking opportunity. See p38 for full details.

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Membership Matters Packed Members’ Meeting considers future AD landscape Tackling the future of the AD industry was high on the agenda at the ADBA Members’ Meeting back in November. Around 80 people enjoyed a drinks and lunch reception at The Royal College of Surgeons in London before hearing the latest news in the lead up to the government’s Spending Review. Members were given the latest ADBA Policy Report listing key points including how AD outside the sewage sector now delivers more energy, from a higher capacity, than the sewage sector itself; as well as an update on FIT following degression. There were several speakers on the day including representatives from DECC and Ofgem, who updated members on RHI and sustainability criteria. From ADBA, Strategic Adviser, Chris Huhne, gave an explanation of the current political situation and emphasised the importance of ensuring that AD is seen as significant and inexpensive. He said: “We need to continue to present a joint front with other renewables organisations to explain [how we can deliver] low cost, secure and clean energy – and emphasise the particular advantages of AD and biomass as the only renewables that deliver dispatchable power.” Also speaking was ADBA’s Market Analyst, Ollie More, who took delegates through the updated market information in the Policy Report. He introduced the concept of a ‘levelised cost task force’. This is a central part of ADBA’s lobbying to explain to government that AD can bring down the cost of direct subsidy over time, providing better value for money and beating the price that DECC has guaranteed for new nuclear.

“Things are moving fast and being an ADBA member gives you the opportunity to meet with people who are in the same boat as you, as well as those who are developing policy. It was useful to get up to speed on sustainability criteria and the Ofgem audit.” Andrew Riley, Director, Assure UK

Join the AD revolution As the vital link between the AD industry and government, we give our members a powerful lobbying voice at the highest levels. In these changing times for the AD sector, it’s never been more important to present a united front. Join ADBA today and make sure your business is at the heart of the UK’s AD revolution. For more information go to

“As ADBA members we benefit from a number of networking events with other industry leaders as well as updates on legislation and policy as and when they change. The team are always able to help and direct with any questions that arise and are a pleasure to be associated with.” Chris Jellett, Business Development Manager - Renewable Energy, Severn Trent Water


AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Welcome new ADBA members! AD4 Energy Agtec Ltd Biogas Clapton Sarl Bryn Power Channing Digester ( Brandon Grange Farm) Chapman Beck DMT Environmental Solutions IW&NA Parker JBD Tritec Needwood Energy Northwick Energy Qualiflex Biproduct Solutions Ltd SAEBiogas SEQPL T D Forster & Son

Membership Matters

Safety First

By Terence Brownhill, Business Development Manager, CAPITA-PROjEN, Chair of ADBA’s Training, Safety and Environment Working Group, and ADBA Board member

What if..?

At the start of an AD project, activities such as a HAZOP (hazard and operability study) and HAZID (hazard identification) are undertaken to ensure that the plant design is fit for purpose, and will be safe and maintainable during commissioning. Over a period of years, by small increments, the plant evolves as modifications are made to improve performance. ‘What if’ is a retrospective review of a plant that has been in operation for a period of time. It begins by defining how the plant is operating in comparison with its original design intent and considers any design changes that have been made, ensuring that these are recorded in updated P&IDs (process and instrumentation drawings). The main training document – the plant process flow diagram – is then updated to reflect the current design status of the plant. A retrospective HAZOP/HAZID is subsequently carried out to test the robustness of the current operation, the maintainability of the plant, the planning contingencies for emergency breakdown scenarios, and current training requirements. The key performance indicators (KPIs) are also reviewed. Key areas for consideration include: • Design or process deficiencies – preparation of improvement plans to increase plant availability and output; • Emergency scenarios – real time practice of failure modes, emergency contingency procedures;

• Identification of non-routine operation(s) and maintenance which could cause an accident – review of recent accidents in the industry, development of contingency plans for digester cleaning and major maintenance; • Mode of failure analysis – reviewing each single key piece of equipment, identifying the impact on the whole process of failure, and defining the response time required to minimise impact on KPIs and safety.

Example ‘What if’ scenario

‘What if’ the digester stirring system fails? • Impact – Major, with the potential for significant operational downtime; • Consequences – Foaming, gas leaks, odour, roof damage, environmental incident and potential digester tank damage; • Mitigation – Increase inspection intervals, confirm critical spares availability and develop an equipment swap-out plan to mitigate maintenance downtime. Running a full set of ‘What if’ scenarios has the potential to improve overall plant availability and security. Having in place tried and tested or rehearsed mitigation measures will ensure that if and when a non-compliant situation arises, it is managed effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, actions that improve plant performance will undoubtedly yield positive financial benefits. The end result is a measurably safer and more profitable plant.

february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


Membership Matters Team changes


We would like to say farewell to the following team members and wish them well for the future: Jay Abai, Will Bushby, Peter Mackintosh and Helen Reddick. We would also like to welcome the following four new staff members, who we are sure will become valuable members of the ADBA team.

Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton T + 44 (0)203 176 0503 E PA to Chief Executive, Eleanor Maroussas T +44 (0)203 567 1041 E Strategic Advisor, Chris Huhne E

Welcome Alex

Alex Monks, Membership Development Manager “With an operational background in the AD industry, I am passionate about the technology and its benefits and am looking forward to engaging with our existing members, as well as welcoming new members.”

Head of Policy, Matt Hindle T +44 (0)203 176 0591 E Policy Officer, Thom Koller T +44 (0)203 176 0592 E Market Analyst, Ollie More T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E Environment and Regulation Manager, Jess Allan T +44 (0)203 735 8380 E

Welcome Thom

Thom Koller, Policy Officer “I have been working on environmental and energy issues for five years, both in the charity sector and in academia, recently completing my Ph.D. in international environmental law. I’m looking forward to working with members from across the industry.”

PR & Parliamentary Affairs Manager, Derek Sivyer T +44 (0)203 176 5441 E

Welcome Ekow

Exhibition Accounts Manager, Ekow Monney T +44 (0)203 176 5416 E

Ekow Monney, Exhibition Accounts Manager “Having been in the renewables industry for over a decade, I’m looking forward to working with the team at ADBA and enabling companies within the AD and biogas community to get the most from our industry leading event.”

Welcome Dolapo

Dolapo Shobanjo, Market Researcher “With my previous experience as an analyst within the oil & gas sector, I am thrilled to be striving for a sustainable energy future. I look forward to carrying out research into emerging renewable markets and helping to grow ADBA internationally.”

Could your team or project be the best in the world? Call for award entries now open

Has your business recently completed a successful AD project? Is your AD team outstanding? Is the service you provide to your clients second to none? Then we want to hear from you! This year, our annual awards ceremony – UK AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2016 – will not only celebrate the finest achievements and innovations from the AD and biogas industry here in the UK, it will also reward global success, raising the profile of the sector right across the world. The event takes place in Birmingham on 6 July 2016 – the first night of our annual trade show, UK AD & Biogas 2016 – 38

AD & Bioresources News | february 2016

Membership Development Manager, Alex Monks T +44 (0)203 176 5418 E Events and Sponsorship Manager, Neill Wightman T +44 (0)203 176 4414 E

Event Producer, Ed Gavaghan T +44 (0)203 176 4415 E Marketing Manager, Vera Gerson T +44 (0)203 176 0590 E Market Researcher, Dolapo Shobanjo T +44 (0)203 176 5417 E Database Marketing Assistant, Maryanne Torok T +44 (0)203 176 0769 E Accountant, Amy Pritchard T +44 (0)203 176 6962 E AD Finance, Bruce Nelson, Director of Compass Renewables T +44 (0)1732 464495 E AD & Bioresources News Managing Editor, Kirsty Sharpe T +44 (0)1920 821873 E AD & Bioresources News Editor, Kate O’Reilly T +44 (0)7894 039609 E

and will be our fifth UK AD & Biogas Industry Awards. With a range of categories reflecting the growth of the sector, and featuring new categories recognising achievement across the globe, the call for entries is now open. This is your chance to see your projects, products, teams and services recognised at this high profile event, rewarding the best that the anaerobic digestion industry has to offer.

How to enter Don’t forget that you can enter more than one category and more than one project. To see the full category list and download the entry form go to For more information contact E T +44 (0)203 176 0590

Exhibitor Profiles february 2016 | AD & Bioresources News


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