AD & Bioresources News November 2015

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Issue 29 novemBER 2015

Unlocking feedstocks to secure AD's future

Biogas upgrading

On-farm AD advice

ADBA National Conference 2015 preview

FIT review and future support


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Foreword Help us save AD from boom and bust

Inside this issue > Foreword: ADBA News:

3 4-6

Government & Agency News: Feature – Unlocking AD feedstocks: Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading:

7 8-13 15-17

ADBA National Conference 2015 Preview: 18-21 ADBA National Conference 2015 Exhibitor Preview:


Advice Clinic: On-farm AD:


Members’ News and Views:


R&D Update: Policy:

29 30-31



Operator & Working Groups:


Upcoming Events:


Membership Matters:


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

By Chris Huhne, ADBA’s Strategic Advisor


ordon Brown was once ridiculed for promising an end to boom and bust – just before the bust. Yet that is what AD now faces: no sooner had we announced the 400th AD plant in Britain – a near third increase in just a year – than the new Conservative government slams on the brakes. The removal of pre-accreditation means that businesses can no longer be certain of which Feed-in Tariff they will receive; a decision that will stop many projects with long-lead times (like AD plants) in their tracks. As if to confirm that the government does not like renewables, the Chancellor also removed their exemption from the Climate Change Levy, which has now become an electricity tax. The anger at this retrospective change was not confined to Drax, the power company that saw its shares tumble by a third. There is a wan smile about Mr Osborne’s old promise that he would turn the Treasury into a green ally, not a green foe. But the industry has to work with the government as it is, not as we might like it to be. The reality is that there will be more bad news from the public spending round, as the Renewable Heat Incentive is unlikely to be spared from cuts. The political challenge for us at ADBA is to make the case for AD in an increasingly sceptical environment. However, there are good songs for us to sing. AD is good value for money (whether measured by its ability to meet renewables targets or to cut carbon at a respectable cost). It needs no diesel park to back it up, because it runs even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. It produces a nutrient-rich digestate which can replace nitrogen fertiliser, therefore helping to decarbonise farming. And it diversifies the rural economy, providing secure and sustainable jobs. Of all the renewables, it has the greatest number of advantages to appeal to the Prime Minister’s blue-green agenda. But the support of our membership in getting these messages across is crucial, particularly in making local MPs aware of the real benefits that AD brings. Your input in helping us to promote the benefits of AD is critical.

Get involved If you haven’t already done so, download our template letter today and send it to your local MP.

Take advantage of our free editorial opportunities in 2016 “Our full 2016 features list has now been released. On top of our regular content, such as the latest policy updates, members’ news, and events listings, each issue contains an in-depth feature on a pressing industry topic, our popular advice clinic, and a technology focus. There are now more editorial opportunities for members than ever before, so make it your new year’s resolution to see your company name featured in the UK’s only AD-specific publication. And don’t forget to take advantage of our fantastic advertising and sponsorship packages, too. I look forward to hearing from you.” Kate O’Reilly, Editor T +44 (0)7894 039609 E

Feb 2016 (issue 30) Feature: Are we starting to get value from digestate? Technology focus: CHP technology Advice clinic: Future of incentives – please send in your questions for our Policy Team Plant Update: Please send details of all new AD projects planned for 2016 ADBA National Conference 2015 review Copy deadline: 27 Nov Apr 2016 (issue 31) Feature: On-site AD for food and drink companies Technology focus: Measuring and controls Finance focus: The changing face of AD funding AD & Biogas 2016 preview Copy deadline: 12 Feb June 2016 (issue 32) Feature: Best practice/improving operational performance Technology focus: On-farm AD technology Advice clinic: Trade show special

AD & Biogas 2016: Show and exhibitor preview AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2016 preview Copy deadline: 15 Apr Sept 2016 (issue 33) Feature: How AD is giving water companies a competitive edge Technology focus: Odour control Advice clinic: Food waste procurement AD & Biogas 2016: Review and exhibitor highlights AD & Biogas Industry Awards winners 2016 Copy deadline: 17 June Nov 2016 (issue 34) Feature: AD as part of the community energy mix Technology focus: Pre-treatment technology Advice clinic: Sustainability criteria – one year on ADBA National Conference 2016 preview Copy deadline: 16 Sept

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA News It’s time to fight against government’s assault on renewables

By Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s Chief Executive


here is no doubt that recent government policy announcements have had a profound impact on investor confidence, to the extent that industry growth is expected to plunge to negligible levels. Emerging from this orchestrated bonfire of renewables support, however, has been a determination by the industry to demonstrate the excellent return on investment that anaerobic digestion (AD) offers – as highlighted in the MP briefing document we have enclosed with this edition of AD & Bioresources News.

AD supports food security and production and makes the technology a vital component of sustainable farming businesses. And with the UK’s reputation as a world leader in AD food waste technology driving up domestic recycling standards, industry exports could already be in excess of £100m, as operators and suppliers develop innovative technology, expertise and standards.

And we can do it at reasonable cost. If our continued growth is supported by government, AD will offer cheaper baseload energy than new nuclear by the time Hinkley Point C is delivered, providing localised generation without the risk of a single large development.

The tragedy of the government’s devastating assault on support measures for renewables is that these successful industries, which have created tens of thousands of jobs and already deliver over a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs, risk not flowering to their full potential. For AD, this would mean that we would not be capable of delivering 30 per cent of domestic heat or electricity; we would not reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent (a saving to the bill payer worth potentially £1.2bn against other carbon mitigation technologies); we would not fuel up to 80 per cent of HGVs; we would not reverse soil degradation trends (which already cost the UK about £1.4bn); we would not create 30,000 new jobs; and we would not extract the greatest possible value from inedible food waste by recycling essential nutrients to improve soil quality, at the same time as generating enough additional energy to power half the homes in central London.

Of course, AD is about much more than renewable energy alone. The technology is vital to decarbonise farming, heat and transport; mitigating the same emissions as removing one million vehicles from our roads. On-farm

The case for AD’s role in our energy mix is convincing; its non-energy benefits make it incontrovertible. Together, we must all act to engage local MPs across the country, and galvanise them into advocating our case in Parliament.

Clearly, AD’s role in delivering baseload energy is vital, with over 400 plants now offering enough capacity to replace the Wylfa nuclear power plant, which is being decommissioned this year. Thanks to the growth of biomethane to grid plants, we are already generating almost half of the UK’s renewable heat output: the storable nature of biogas means that AD can help meet peak demand for either gas or electricity.


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

ADBA News FIT review – ADBA steps up DECC engagement We have responded to DECC’s consultation on the comprehensive Feed-in Tariff (FIT) review, and are continuing to actively engage with DECC ministers and senior officials. Although the government’s proposals did not set out tariff changes for new AD projects at this stage, the Department is considering a number of changes which put future development at risk, as outlined below. Possibility of the scheme ending in early 2016 DECC confirmed that if the industry does see a surge in pre-accreditations and accreditations over the next few months, the scheme could end in the early part of 2016. However, officials stressed that this has not yet been decided and that it will depend on the level of deployment over the coming months. We will not know the outcome until government responds to the consultation towards the end of the year. The capping system A number of members have asked if those projects that secured pre-accreditation, but will not deploy until next year, will be counted under the capping system. DECC has confirmed that pre-accreditations will be honoured but, depending on the surge of technologies, it could alter how the caps look for all technologies once the review has finished. This means that the amount of megawatts that has been published in the consultation document could change. Extensions The ability to extend has long been a benefit for AD technology; however, the consultation has proposed ruling out the option to extend from next year. The main reason for this is to stop ‘gaming’, by which the Department means larger plants first accrediting a small engine at a higher tariff rate. We have previously raised this issue with DECC and proposed measures to resolve it, but believe completely removing the ability to extend is a disproportionate measure which could reduce value for money. Reintroduction of preliminary accreditation One of the main reasons for getting rid of the ability to pre-accredit for all technologies, rather than just one, was that DECC would have had to go through State Aid – this could again be a problem for reintroducing pre-accreditation. We will be arguing for the ability to pre-accredit for AD to be reintroduced, with a capping system – this is essential for investor certainty. Any proposals will clearly need to be legally robust.

Sustainability criteria New sustainability criteria could introduce a requirement to collect vast amounts of data on agricultural and other inputs used in biogas and biomethane production processes (the E4Tech biomass sustainability calculator outlines all the data collection requirements – However, given the devastating impact of recent policy announcements, we explained that it might not be worth the time and money needed to implement the criteria. RHI policy All fuel (including biogas and biomethane produced from non-waste feedstocks) now also has to meet new sustainability rules in order to be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). These rules were discussed in a separate meeting with relevant DECC officials, in which we also raised the future prospects for the RHI. On the latter point, last month we submitted our response to the government’s spending review which outlines how AD: • Provides domestic green gas production now; • Provides cost effective carbon abatement; • Increases economic productivity and global competitiveness; • Assists in meeting recycling targets; • Strengthens the rural economy. We brought these points to the attention of officials and stressed how vital it is for industry to have some idea of what is going to be proposed in the upcoming review. Unsurprisingly, DECC was unable to give any detail or assurances on the future of the RHI and is very unlikely to be able to say more until the Chancellor’s spending review announcement on 25 November.

Further Information Contact

Renewables sector unites against DECC’s destructive policy announcements On behalf of the renewable energy sector, and many thousands of businesses, community groups and investors, ADBA is working alongside Community Energy England, Regen SW, REA, Renewable UK, Scottish Renewables and the Solar Trade Association to lobby DECC. Together, we have called on the Department to urgently review its decision to remove preliminary accreditation from the Feed-in Tariff (FIT); an action which has placed hundreds of projects, millions of pounds of investment, and many thousands of jobs at risk. It also has the reverse impact of what the government seems to intend, by pushing up costs.

Our Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, also attended a roundtable meeting on the future of FIT with DECC minister Andrea Leadsom MP at the end of October, in which Charlotte highlighted how recent government actions had put all future investment in AD on hold. The minister stated that her only objective was to protect bill payers from excessive subsidies; however, she added that consultation was not an attempt to shut down the industry. For a full review of the meeting, read Charlotte’s blog at

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News



Will the UK need a gas grid beyond 2050? Therefore, the following pathways attempt to provide the options which allow biogas to support not only a scenario in which the current energy system largely continues, but also a near completely decarbonised system.

Biogas (current)

Baseload electricity generation

Gas storage

Winter electricity generation (including for heating, electric vehicles)


Gas network with gas storage

When looking at the potential for biogas there are two timeframes to consider. First, there is the potential contribution of biogas to meet 2020 renewable energy targets and the third and fourth carbon budgets in the 2018-27 period. The next stage to look at is the potential for biogas to support carbon budgets beyond 2027 – leading to the 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The potential longer-term contribution of course needs to be considered in making the shorter-term policy.

Winter electricity generation (including for heating, electric vehicles)


On-site vehicle refuelling Tankered to vehicle refuelling


For the period 2018-2027, the following pathways are available to the UK for the use of biogas and upgraded biomethane:


Gas network / with storage



Gas network / with storage



Gas network / with storage



We recently hosted a roundtable discussion in Bristol, which pulled together leading experts from across the transport, C&I, and utilities industries to assess the future role of biogas and biomethane in UK energy production.


Baseload electricity generation


Gas network


On-site vehicle refuelling Tankered to vehicle refuelling

Heat Electricity generation Transport

Biomethane (current)


For the period 2030-50, the pathways in the following diagram become more relevant, under the assumption that the UK follows a trajectory to meeting its 2050 objective. A range of scenarios on pathways to meet the 2050 carbon targets have been developed by government and others. Many of these scenarios assume that: a) the electricity network will need to be completely decarbonised by 2050; b) electric vehicles will need to displace fossil-fuelled passenger and light vehicles; c) the gas grid will need to decarbonise, through the use of biomethane; and/or shrink, with low carbon electricity becoming the main source of heating, alongside heat pumps. 6

AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Gas network

Heat Electricity generation Transport Industry

From the roundtable there was a consensus that: • The UK will still need a gas grid in 2050; • Pumping biomethane into the grid offers the route with the most potential for using it in transport; • Supporting the gas-to-grid market in the short term will allow for the decarbonisation of heat and electricity, and support the medium-term decarbonisation of transport. The roundtable discussion highlighted that biogas/biomethane has a big role to play in the decades to come; however, more work needs to be done to evaluate the various pathways. We will be using the valuable information we received to help move the discussion on and create a future pathways position paper, ahead of our National Conference in Westminster on 3 December 2015.

Government & Agency News Soil degradation ‘costs the UK more than £1bn each year’

A report by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has revealed that soil degradation is costing the UK £1.4bn each year. The report, ‘Securing UK Soil Health’, notes that there is no UK-wide monitoring of changes in soil health, highlighting how the issue has largely been ignored by government. As the AD industry is well aware, digestate produced through anaerobic digestion and used in place of chemical fertilisers helps maintain pH levels and soil fertility; improves soil quality, crop yields and the availability of nutrients (principally including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus); and, significantly, also replaces the organic matter component. Alongside all the other benefits AD brings to the UK – generating renewable energy, reducing climate change emissions, creating a potential 35,000 jobs, and supporting agriculture to keep farmers farming – the industry can also help to improve the UK’s soil health. This is clearly not just an added side benefit, but a crucial asset that has significant value which should be recognised by government.

Important changes to emissions monitoring requirements The Environment Agency (EA) has produced a new Technical Guidance Note (TGN) entitled ‘M9: environmental monitoring of bioaerosols at regulated facilities’. The new TGN has been developed to replace the existing ‘Standardised Protocol for the Monitoring of Ambient Bioaerosols at Open Composting Facilities (2009)’, but has a wider scope that includes all biowaste treatment processes. While the EA did not undertake a formal consultation, it sent a draft version of the document to key stakeholders, including ADBA, for comment. We invited members to contribute to our response – thanks to all those who did so. The risks from bioaerosols have been reviewed for a number of years, which has led to reports that exposure to these emissions has been associated with human health effects, such as respiratory illness. The M9 note provides guidance not only on the monitoring of ambient emissions but also on ‘point source’ emissions which arise from a specific point, such as a stack or biofilter. It also provides detailed guidance on sampling techniques and reporting requirements. Facilities with emissions from stacks or open biofilters may therefore need to monitor and assess their emissions from point and area sources to ensure they meet acceptable levels at sensitive receptors within 250m of the source. Where appropriate, the EA will include bioaerosol monitoring requirements as a condition in Environmental Permits. For more information, please contact

BHA launches Waste Not, Want Not series

CBI chief warns against cuts to renewable energy The British Hospitality Association (BHA), SWR and Winnow Solutions have collaborated to produce a 10 part mini-series on how to reduce business waste. With the cost of waste disposal increasing year on year, the first instalment in this bite-sized guide aims to help hospitality businesses find new and innovative ways to reduce food waste, leading to financial savings as well as reputational and competitive advantage.

The government’s wholesale cuts to renewable energy subsidies are sending a worrying signal to investors, according to CBI Director General, John Cridland. Speaking ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris in December, Mr Cridland said: “The green economy is an emerging market in its own right, brimming with opportunity. Yet, with the roll-back of renewables policies and the mixed messages on energy efficiency, the government risks sending a worrying signal to businesses.” november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Unlocking AD feedstocks

Unlocking feedstocks to take AD to the next level


s anyone involved in the industry will testify, Britain’s AD sector has come a long way in just a few short years. Over 400 plants are now generating 7.4 TWh of biogas, but this is just a fraction of what we have the potential to achieve. ADBA has calculated that AD can deliver 80 TWh – equivalent to 30 per cent of the UK’s household gas demand – by making more of existing feedstocks, and unlocking the value of new or underexploited feedstocks. Getting this material into the UK’s anaerobic digesters is now of great importance if the industry is to continue to grow.

Food waste recycling rates

Only 10 per cent of the total volume of food waste generated in England each year is currently captured by local authorities for recycling. While the priority is clearly to reduce the amount of food waste generated in the first place, it’s also essential that we make the most of the unavoidable portion by treating it through AD. So why is the capture rate so low – and how can we ensure that more of it ends up in AD plants? “Food waste collection schemes in England have a variety of performance levels, for different reasons,” explained Chris Mills, Special Advisor for WRAP, at UK AD & Biogas 2015. “However, all the evidence that WRAP has compiled over the last 10 years says that if you give householders the right kit – caddies, liners, good education, regular collections – and, most importantly, sustain that kit, then you’ll get the performance.” Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s Chief Executive, believes that frequency of collection makes a big difference to performance levels: “Collecting food waste separately from garden waste on a weekly basis, with good access to liners, is important to meet householder expectations of the scheme and will result in more food waste for recycling. If the majority of households were able to have a well-supported weekly collection, much more food waste would be recycled.”

Local authority waste contracts

However, the reality is rather different. Unlike in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where regulations require food waste to be collected separately, only 25 per cent of households in England receive a separate weekly food waste collection; and 55 per cent receive no food waste collection at all. When you consider the scale of the country’s food waste problem – and the levels of AD overcapacity in some areas – this makes no sense. But according to Dr David Greenfield of SOENECS, you need to look back to the previous decade to understand the issue more clearly: “The evolution of responsibility for local authority (LA) waste management over the last decade has been extreme. Many waste collection contracts are for 7-10 years (the average lifespan of a collection vehicle), but ten years ago recycling was a very minor part of any scheme, and food waste recycling even less so. Waste disposal contracts are even longer, usually 25 years. This makes it difficult for councils to effect swift change. People are quick to judge LA waste contracts from today’s perspective – we have to look at them in the context of when the signature was made.”

Until England’s waste policy catches up with the rest of the UK, it’s up to AD operators and LAs to work together to unlock greater volumes of food waste. “The requirement for a guaranteed minimum tonnage to support new AD plants is outdated,” says Julian O’Neill, Chief Executive of Biogen. “Councils now have far better access to merchant capacity; they just need to talk to the right people. Gate fee contracts for reasonable, long term tonnages are far more affordable now. Local authorities can access value for money if they talk to the bigger, more robust operators who can leverage their fixed cost base and provide a higher level of customer service.”

Matching AD capacity with food waste

With plants now competing for food waste contracts, there is an argument for the industry to work harder with what it has already before thinking about further expansion, to rebalance the current mismatch between AD capacity and available food waste. “We should fill existing plants first and refrain from building further capacity only to find that it’s more difficult to fill than developers think,” states Julian O’Neill. “It’s also essential that existing AD operators up their game on compliance. It’s not a level playing field and there are too many AD businesses that fall short on operating practices. We need to improve as an entire industry to bolster our credibility.” Weekly separate food waste collections, combined with the right kit and education, have been proven to increase food waste capture rates

55 per cent of English households still receive no separate food waste collection 8

AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Unlocking AD feedstocks and quality of household and commercial food waste. Rory Stewart, Defra Resources Minister, supports the move: “It’s great news that UK homes are throwing away 15 per cent less food than in 2007 and, together with WRAP, we are working with retailers and industry to reduce this even further. But we also need to make sure that where food waste is unavoidable, it is treated in the most sustainable way. I want to thank WRAP for this important work and for bringing members of the recycling sector together so we can continue to cut the amount of food waste that goes to landfill.”

Local authorities now have far better access to merchant AD plants, such as Biogen’s Bygrave Lodge facility

Understanding the local situation is also essential. “Some areas are suffering from overcapacity while others have a shortfall; matching local demand with local capacity is what’s important,” says David Greenfield. “The AD industry needs to work in collaboration with LAs and businesses to understand a variety of factors before building any new plants, such as: how many AD plants already exist in a certain area? What feedstock do they take? What volumes are they currently processing? What spare capacity is available? How many households are in the area? How does the LA collect and treat its food waste? Is its waste contract up for renewal soon, etc? Strategic understanding and planning of the local environment is what’s required, rather than working in isolation.”

Streamlined collections

With approximately 350 different waste collection authorities operating in England, promoting joined-up thinking can seem like a tall order. But by working together, councils can increase their food waste recycling volumes while reducing their costs: “The picture in Kent is a positive one when it comes to food waste collections,” states Paul Vanston of Kent Resource Partnership. “Around three-quarters of Kent’s 630,000 households now have a separate weekly food waste collection. Our recycling rates have been advancing strongly towards 50 per cent and landfill rates have fallen dramatically to 11 per cent of household waste. That’s a financial win for councils and Kent taxpayers, and a performance win for England’s recycling rate overall. We’ve done this by working in partnership between the councils to ensure whole system costs are scrutinised closely, and where we can decrease costs in one part of our service, we can reinvest in food waste collections. It’s the partnership aspect that opens the door to efficiency savings and investment in new services.” Taking this concept even further is the Defra-endorsed Food Waste Recycling Action Plan. Facilitated by WRAP and actively encouraged and supported by ADBA, it aims to develop a coordinated, agreed plan between the waste industry, trade bodies and local authorities to improve the capture, supply

Dr David Greenfield recommends taking a medium-term approach to streamlining waste collections

It’s an approach which is also praised by the Green Alliance’s Senior Policy Adviser, Jonny Hazell: “Streamlining waste collections is definitely the way forward to ensure more food waste is recycled. In practice, this should follow the Welsh example, where there are separate food waste collections in every local authority area, but with some flexibility around how this service is delivered to allow for differences in housing type and geography. As well as greater household service provision, there is also the need to increase commercial food waste collections, and harmonising these with household services could help lower the cost of achieving this.” Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, agrees: “Streamlined procurement of both services and containers could help lower costs to LAs, while value for money could be enhanced by contractors’ ability to standardise operations and drive efficiencies. Low food waste yields reduce the value for money of separate collections, so if more consistent provision of services could help drive up participation, then the benefits to LAs could be considerable.” But in practice, how easy will streamlined collections be for England’s numerous LAs to implement? “Streamlining waste collections is certainly possible – Germany manages it successfully,” argues David Greenfield. “But the difference is that they set up their system this way from the start. It’s much harder in England because of the sheer number of waste collection authorities. For it to work for everyone – including LAs – we need to take a strategic, medium-term approach to streamlining over the next 5-10 years, rather than looking for a quick fix.”

Making the most of manure

Although there are clear benefits to be gained from capturing more household food waste (ADBA has estimated that it could generate as much as 5.3 TWh of usable energy by 2025), manure actually represents the greatest volume of untapped organic waste in the UK. The downside is that it’s a low yielding AD feedstock. “Manure doesn’t produce much energy, so you need a lot of it to run an AD plant,” explains James Hart of JJ Power Ltd. “For example, our local 900 cow dairy is only able to run 100 kW of its 250 kW plant on the estimated gas from the cow slurry.” One type of manure which is traditionally high yielding, however, is poultry: “Poultry litter is in theory a very good AD feedstock, given its relatively high dry matter and high energy content,” says Harry Hoskins-Abrahall, of Hallwick Energy. “Around one million laying hens would provide enough manure to run a 1 MW plant, but normally it can only be used in small quantities due to the high ammonia levels that can build up in the digester.” Continued>>

James Hart (L) adds energy crops to his on-farm digester, to balance the nitrogen content in chicken litter

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Unlocking AD feedstocks Pig slurry can make a successful AD feedstock

Thanks to technological advances, high lignin feedstock, such as straw, can be processed in an AD plant

“Originally we had pig, cattle and chicken manure,” continues James Hart. “I closed the pig unit and have stopped feeding the AD plant with cattle manure because the stones that get in were causing problems. So I’m now only feeding it with chicken manure. I therefore have to balance the high nitrogen content in the chicken litter, which means a certain percentage of what we feed the digester is energy crop.” As James discovered, farmyard manures also present a contamination issue. Stones, grit and straw have to be removed prior to digestion, at a cost to the operator. “With at least 25,000 tonnes of cattle manure per year required to produce 500 kW of energy, these additional treatment costs can render a project unviable for farms with lower volumes of feedstock,” warns James.

Overcoming problems with manure

However, solutions are available that allow manure to be successfully processed in an AD plant. Les Gornall of PROjEN has been working on AD projects using pig and cattle slurries, and has overcome a number of challenges. “The gel-like consistency of manure, combined with high levels of ammonia and contamination, makes it difficult to work with, but we developed a number of strategies to render it a suitable AD feedstock. First, we had to take out any heavy contaminants (eg stones, fence wire, chains, potatoes, etc). We made sure there were no moving parts inside the tank which could get damaged; instead we used high amounts of energy to mix the contents, allowing the ‘sinkers’ to fall to the bottom, from where we could easily extract them. We also employed a two-phase digestion process, which included a first stage acid hydrolysis phase that has ten times the efficiency of conventional continuous stirred tank reactors. By semi-digesting the manure in this way, it became free running and easy to pump. It also allowed the system to handle three times the amount of ammonia that would normally kill important digester bacteria.” “There are technical issues associated with manure-only AD but, as we’ve proved, these can be overcome,” adds Les. “Although manure isn’t as high yielding as food waste, the fact that there’s so much of it available compensates for this – it’s the ‘main crop’ that the UK AD industry still hasn’t tapped into. The problem is that the subsidies PROjEN has overcome a number just aren’t in our favour. of challenges to render manure a suitable AD feedstock Far more is given to oil and nuclear than to renewables. Government policy should recognise the enormous greenhouse gas reduction and farming benefits of treating manure through AD.”

High lignin feedstocks

However, thanks to technological advances, digesting manure with animal bedding such as straw and wood chip – traditionally deemed unsuitable for anaerobic digestion because of their high lignin content – could help the figures stack up. Biogas Systems’ Economizer SE technology, distributed in the UK by Future Biogas, is a front-end treatment system for high lignin feedstocks. Using a small amount of heat, the Economizer ‘explodes’ the material, producing a thick brown soup high in dry matter, and significantly increases gas yields. It means there is now real potential to exploit the use of straw as an AD feedstock – recent tests on various straw types, including strawed pig muck, suggest it could revolutionise the industry. “This technology will improve returns on existing plants and make projects previously considered unfeasible viable in the face of falling tariffs,” believes Philipp Lukas, Managing Director of Future Biogas. “We are delighted to be leading its adoption in the UK by installing the first operational system at one of our plants.” Technology such as this, alongside innovations in manure processing, could have a hugely positive impact on the AD industry – ADBA estimates that by 2025, farm animal wastes and bedding could generate as much as 9.2 TWh of usable energy. Along with straw, garden waste was also considered unsuitable for AD processing due to its high lignin content. However, the Lochhead AD facility, owned and operated by Fife Council, successfully processes 40,000 tonnes of combined food and green waste each year, thanks to a dry fermentation system from Schmack Biogas and Jones Celtic BioEnergy. The largest of its kind in Europe and the only such facility in the UK, the Lochhead dry AD plant allows the council to continue with co-mingled collections, resulting in considerable savings on transport costs and carbon emissions, while the combination of green waste with food waste accounts for a 40 per cent increase in biogas potential over food waste alone. ADBA estimates that dry AD processing of garden waste could generate 1 TWh of usable energy by 2025.


november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Unlocking AD feedstocks

The project saw three participants take a different approach to designing an end-to-end solution for the conversion of wetland biomass. Natural Synergies designed a bespoke medium-scale AD system to process the material, using a method of cell destruction through homogenising systems and ultrasound. “There are a number of different approaches that can be employed for processing wetland material through AD, from working with existing large scale AD operators to installing small on-site systems,” adds Sally. This is an area which could have significant potential for AD, generating up to 0.4 TWh of usable energy.

Novel feedstocks

Alongside wetland biomass, vast amounts of research and development are taking place across the UK on the AD potential of a variety of materials, including: advanced agriculture, such as aquaculture and the greenhouse sector; microalgae grown using digestate; and macroalgae, such as seaweed. Three projects are exploring the opportunities of seaweed as an AD feedstock,


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Microalgae, for example grown using digestate, has the potential to generate 0.5 TWh of usable energy

Credit: Chlamydomonas - Prof Francisco Torrela

Another material high in lignin is wetland biomass. The RSPB has been working on a groundbreaking biomass to bioenergy project with DECC that could have positive implications for both habitat management and the AD industry, as Project Manager Sally Mills explains: “Currently, wetland biomass is generated through the management of nature conservation areas for the benefit of biodiversity. However, it’s important that the material generated is removed, as leaving it on site can be detrimental to the conservation objectives. Prior to the DECC Wetland Biomass to Bioenergy project, this harvested wetland material was largely under-utilised and, in some cases, the organisation may have had to pay for its disposal. Therefore, finding a use for it will not only help with its disposal but also create a product of value, eg energy.”

including work by the CPI (see p27) and research by Miriam Cogan and Dr Blanca Antizar Ladislao at The University of Edinburgh (funded by the EPSRC and Scottish Water), investigating the possibilities of mixing macroalgae with food waste. “About 3-4m tonnes of Laminaria (also known as kelp) gets washed up on Scottish shores each year, and large macroalgal blooms are becoming a particular issue – they’re unsightly to tourists and their decomposition in such a mass quantity is environmentally damaging,” explained Miriam at the R&D Hub at UK AD & Biogas 2015.

Unlocking AD feedstocks

Miriam Cogan spoke about the possibilities of mixing macroalgae with food waste at UK AD & Biogas 2015

A study by the Crown Estate and CPI has shown that it’s economically viable to anaerobically digest macroalgae with food waste. But with seaweed containing large quantities of heavy metals, and high levels of sulphur, what effect would it have on the digestion of food waste? “Our research found that a ratio of 90 per cent food waste to 10 per cent macroalgae was a viable combination, with the seaweed showing evidence of providing a natural source of trace elements (particularly beneficial to a mono-digestion feedstock like food waste), and optimising the carbon to nitrogen ratio,” said Miriam. While there is more research to be done, the implications for the AD industry are promising. With the potential to generate 1 TWh of usable energy by 2025, abundantly available macroalgae clearly represents a viable supplementary feedstock for food waste operators facing a feedstock shortfall.

Three research projects, including work by the CPI, are exploring the potential of seaweed as an AD feedstock

With exciting R&D innovations set to unlock the AD potential of a variety of new feedstock types, and a sea change in food waste collection on the horizon, there are exciting times ahead. We have the capability to generate as much as 80 TWh of energy by 2025 – it’s clear that, despite the new government’s attitude to renewables, there is still plenty to be positive about over the next few years.

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Technology Focus - Biogas upgrading

What’s the right upgrading technology for your biomethane project? William Mezzullo PhD, Associate Director of Project Development for Future Biogas, outlines the main considerations for AD plant developers when choosing biogas upgrading equipment. Future Biogas has built and operates ten AD plants, of which six are gas to grid facilities. One of the most noticeable changes in the UK AD market in the past 18 months has been the development of biomethane plants. Although they vary in size, over half of UK biomethane projects have a biogas flow rate of between 800-1,200m3/hr, generally considered to be medium-scale capacity plants. This is partly a reflection of DECC’s tiered tariff structure, introduced in 2014. Biogas upgrading technology has advanced significantly over recent years as the sector has developed. With more than 40 suppliers, it has become a competitive market, driving improvements in efficiency whilst keeping costs stable.

Membrane upgrading technology lends itself to the UK biomethane market thanks to its relatively small footprint for planning consent, modular design and significant improvement in hollow fibre membranes. Additionally, the main operational costs of membrane technology can be offset by

© Greenlane Biogas

Greenlane Biogas is to install its fourth upgrading system in Scotland

© Malmberg

For the 50 or so biomethane projects operational by the end of this year, the most common form of upgrading equipment will be membrane technology, which accounts for approximately 70 per cent of the market. Water-wash upgrading technology accounts for 25 per cent, with the remaining 5 per cent using a range of other technologies. onsite electricity generation. Water-wash upgrading plants offer very good turndown flexibility (the ability to output power levels significantly lower than baseload, with no adverse effect on performance), whilst also being among the most scalable in size, suiting larger-scale plants.

process. Ideally, it should achieve no less than 98 per cent methane purity to minimise propane enrichment costs. Reaching a higher purity is often a balance between upgrader running costs versus the cost of propane, but also depends on the choice of upgrader technology.

The key objective of upgrading technology is to achieve a biomethane purity that will meet the UK’s Gas Safety (Management) Regulations, subject to the addition of propane to increase its Calorific Value (CV) – methane has a CV of around 37.8 MJ/m3, whilst grid gas is around 39 MJ/m3. Particular attention should be given to what is known as the recovery rate. In basic terms, this is the percentage of methane purity in the biomethane recovered from the upgrading

An equally important consideration is the methane slip rate. This is the amount of methane within the rejected CO2 off-gas, vented to atmosphere. With DECC’s introduction of the greenhouse gas sustainability criteria as of 5 October 2015, this should be an important consideration. There are technologies available which can achieve zero methane slip, such as cryogenic upgrading or amine wash. However, other technologies are well within one per cent slip, which is approximately in line with Ofgem’s default value for calculating GHG emissions.

Ultimately, plant operators want the peace of mind provided by a reliable unit and rapid turnaround support, whilst also maintaining low operating costs. Although upgrader technology choice is an important factor, there are lots of suppliers within the main technology types, who can help operators make the right choice for their individual project. Continued>> november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Technology Focus - Biogas upgrading Malmberg has supplied nearly 100 biogas upgrading systems worldwide, including six in the UK

Upgrading solutions from ADBA members Greenlane Biogas has been awarded a further contract from the beverage industry. The company, formerly known as Chesterfield Biogas, will supply and install a Matai biogas-to-biomethane upgrader on a site in Scotland early in 2016. One of a range of modular upgraders using Greenlane’s proven water-wash process, the Matai has a gas throughput of between 400 and 1,200 Nm3/h. This will be the fourth site in Scotland operating


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

upgraders from the Greenlane range, with more than 90 in operation worldwide.

Since 1998, Swedish family-owned company Malmberg has supplied nearly 100 biogas upgrading machines throughout Scandinavia and Europe, producing high quality biomethane for both grid entry and vehicle fuel applications. “As one of the leaders in biogas upgrading, Malmberg brings a wealth of experience and technical know-how to the developing UK market, with six UK projects awarded to date in the sewage sludge and food waste processing sectors,” says UK Manager, Jon Harris. Using an advanced process management system developed in-house, Malmberg equipment requires no additional heat energy or chemicals to upgrade biogas to the required standards for UK grid entry. “Our machines provide a robust and reliable solution to the needs of the UK market,” adds Jon. “The range caters for biogas flows of

100 Nm3/h through to 3,000 Nm3/h, with the technology easily absorbing fluctuations in biogas flow and composition without affecting the quality of the resulting biomethane.” C-Capture Ltd, a company spun out from the University of Leeds in 2009, has been developing exciting new technology for the low energy, low temperature separation of CO2 from other gases,

C-Capture expects full scale commercialisation of its low energy, low temperature CO2 separation next year

Technology Focus - Biogas upgrading including biogas from AD. Working in partnership with Environ Consultants Ltd, it is currently demonstrating its highly innovative process in a variety of real world upgrading scenarios, prior to full scale commercialisation. “The C-Capture technology is a solvent-based process, specially formulated to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impact and chemical hazards,” explains Professor Chris Rayner, Technical Director of C-Capture. “The process is designed to reduce or eliminate many of the problems associated with biogas upgrading technologies, such as methane slippage, high energy requirement, and high initial investment.”

Evonik’s SEPURAN® Green technology uses hollow fibre membranes to purify biogas to more than 99 per cent methane

The new upgrading process will be available as portable, containerised units, fully optimised to upgrade biogas streams to the required level of purity, for applications such as gas injection to grid, as a transportation fuel and for renewable energy generation. Working together, Environ and C-Capture expect full scale commercialisation of the new process in 2016. Evonik Industries’ membrane-based biogas upgrading solution offers particularly high plant availability with very low energy requirements and maintenance costs. The company’s SEPURAN® Green technology separates methane from other gases using hollow fibre membranes, made from an internally developed high performance polymer with very high temperature and pressure resistance. Volker Wehber, Director, SEPURAN® Green, Evonik, explains: “What appears at first sight to be a bunch of spaghetti strands or a paint brush, is in fact a bundle of highly selective membranes made up of multiple cylindrical polymer hollow fibres. These are used in the new hollow fibre membrane modules of SEPURAN® Green.” This high performance polymer gives the membrane the task of distinguishing effectively between methane and CO2, allowing the raw gas to be purified to more than 99 per cent methane. The upgrading generates no waste or emissions and no auxiliary materials such as water or sorbents are required. The membrane technology is suitable for both small and large plants and can be easily adapted for changing flow volumes and gas compositions.

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA National Conference 2015 Preview

Building a world class AD industry By Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s Chief Executive

“The AD sector is now producing over 550 MWe of clean, dispatchable baseload energy and can help balance intermittent renewable sources such as solar and wind, to ensure the UK keeps the lights on at peak demand. But we have the potential to do so much more. Overall, AD could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent, meet 30 per cent of UK domestic gas demand, decarbonise heavy goods vehicle and bus emissions, support domestic food security, and contribute a total of 35,000 jobs to the UK economy. The message from government is that it doesn’t value AD or renewable energy in the way we do; it thinks that we are small and expensive, despite the fact that we are already producing enough energy to replace the Wylfa nuclear plant due to be commissioned this year. Whilst we can deliver as much baseload energy as Hinkley Point C sooner than that will come online at less cost and risk, and contribute to keeping the lights on this winter and next, we’re also fighting hard to demonstrate to government that AD is about far more than just energy, and that there are a range of ways the industry could be supported. That’s why ADBA is looking at the future pathways available to AD, including the contribution biogas can make to the UK’s renewable electricity, heat, transport, recycling and climate change targets, as well as helping to keep farmers farming. The ADBA National Conference is perfectly timed to assess the AD industry’s options, coming immediately after the Autumn Statement – where an announcement on the RHI is due – and the latest on the FIT review. This is clearly a key moment for our industry. Our seventh ADBA National Conference will give you the insight into how government policies on RHI and FIT will affect your business, and outline ADBA’s strategic vision to build a world class AD industry over the next five years. The event brings together leading political and industry figures to evaluate the impact of crucial government decisions and, alongside key policy advice, will include Q&A sessions, networking and table top exhibitions. So, join us to debate the future of the industry with experts and political decision makers; influence government to implement favourable policy; and maximise business opportunities through networking at the exhibition and at the post-event drinks reception.

Sponsored by:

I look forward to seeing you there.”

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA

Key speakers: “ADBA’s National Conference will outline a new strategic vision ahead of proposed government changes to the RHI and FIT. Industry experts will discuss and evaluate these changes and the wider implications they will have on the AD landscape and your business. The conference will also provide a unique networking opportunity not to be missed.” Tony Fenton, Joint Managing Director, Edina


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

“A very good range of speakers covering all aspects of the AD agenda. An event to appeal both to those heavily involved in the industry and those newer to it.” Henry Jerwood, Coventry University Enterprises Ltd

• Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland • Bill Griffiths, National Organics Manager, Viridor • Chris Huhne, Strategic Advisor, ADBA (former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) • David Hurren, Business Unit Manager, Air Liquide UK • Steve Lee, Chief Executive Officer, The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) • Lee Marshall, Chief Executive, The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) • Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA • Amy Mount, Senior Policy Adviser, Green Alliance • Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Select Committee • Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems, WRAP • Nina Sweet, Special Advisor – Organics, WRAP • Simon Trollope, Head of Communications, Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) • Taliesin Maynard, Programme Director, Environment, Welsh Government • Andrew Whittles, Managing Director, Low Emission Strategies • Speaker confirmed from DECC

ADBA National Conference 2015 Preview Who’s exhibiting? • AB Systems (UK) • Air Liquide • Alvan Blanch • Atritor Ltd • Balmoral Tanks • Dorset Green Machines BV • Edina (headline sponsor) • FGS Organics • FM BioEnergy • Gas Data • Geotech • NEWeco-tec Verfahrenstechnik GmbH • Thyson Technology • Vogelsang

“ADBA consistently brings all the right people together for this highly focused, professional event. The speakers were first class.” Hugh Vaughan, Landia (UK)

Who should attend? • AD operators & developers • Equipment suppliers & manufacturers • Consultants & supporting service providers • Farmers & landowners • Investors • Food & drink companies • Water industry • Transport industry • Government officials • Local authorities • Waste & recycling companies • Academics

What our exhibitors say

“Very well-organised and with expert opinion on a range of topics. Time also allocated for networking makes this a very productive event.” Alex Pickering, Konduit Ltd

Sponsorship We offer a range of excellent opportunities to get your brand in front of the key players in the AD industry. To find out how you can get involved, contact E T +44 (0)203 176 4416

“We are looking forward to meeting fellow members and visitors to this year’s conference. The event provides the ideal platform for senior level discussion and debate – and there is much to discuss this year, of course.”

“We have been exhibiting at ADBA's National Conference since its inception in 2009. The event gives us an excellent opportunity to meet prospective investors in the AD sector and network with existing customers and operators. The fact that London and the venue itself is dressed up ready for Christmas also gives the event a very special atmosphere.”

Steve Gibb, PR Manager, Balmoral Tanks

James Tolson, Managing Director, Vogelsang Ltd

“With the current industry uncertainty regarding future government support, we felt it vital to be at the event to fully understand the issues facing our operator customers.”

Register now open

Tim Elsome, Business Development Manager, FM BioEnergy

• ADBA member: £310 • Non-member: £445 • Local authority: £100 (all ex VAT)

Register online at:

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA National Conference 2015 Programme

ADBA National Conference 2015 BUILDING A WORLD CLASS AD INDUSTRY Time Description 09.00 – 09.30

Exhibition and registration

09.30 – 09.45

Building a world class AD industry: ADBA’s Strategy

As the UK AD market enters a challenging period of growth due to recent government decisions, ADBA’s Chief Executive will focus on the long-term drivers of AD – recycling, baseload electricity, gas, transport fuel, heat, biofertiliser, carbon abatement and the potential for higher value bioproducts – creating huge global opportunities for a competitive AD industry. Using ADBA’s latest market report, Charlotte will outline the opportunity for the AD industry to build on performance to date to drive the development of a world-beating competitive industry, delivering more value than any other energy source.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA

09.45 – 09.50

Sponsor’s address Senior representative from Edina confirmed

09.50 – 10.20

Analysing current UK energy policy: will tariff reductions hurt the UK’s long term goals?

Chris Huhne, Strategic Advisor, ADBA Amy Mount, Senior Policy Adviser, Green Alliance Questions and comments from the floor

10.20 – 11.10

A new strategy for AD: where can AD make the biggest contribution from now to 2050?

Chair: Chris Huhne, Strategic Advisor, ADBA Matt Hindle, Head of Policy, ADBA David Hurren, Business Unit Manager, Air Liquide UK Tony Day, Director, Low Carbon Gas Speakers to be confirmed from LowCVP and CCC Questions and comments from the floor

11.10 – 11.40

Exhibition and coffee break

11.40 – 13.00

Resource and waste strategies in the UK: best practice and streamlining services

evolved governments across the UK are taking different approaches to food waste collections, which has clear implications for the AD D sector. As the impact of Scotland’s Waste Regulations, the Welsh Government’s “Towards Zero Waste” strategy and Northern Ireland’s Food Waste Regulations become clearer, what lessons are there to be learned for England? This keynote panel will take an in-depth look at how the UK can improve best practice to maximise feedstock supply for AD, assess the impact this could have on the different pathways for supporting future growth in the AD sector, and give an account of how different sectors of the waste and resource industry are working together to deliver new approaches to collections.

Chair: Steve Lee, Chief Executive Officer, The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Opening remarks by the Chair followed by keynote presentations

11.40 – 11.50

What role will separate food waste collections have in maximising the circular economy? Speaker to be confirmed from Resource Association

11.50 – 12.00

Developing a food waste action plan and streamlining collection systems Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems, WRAP

12.00 – 12.10

The view from Scotland Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland

12.10 – 12.20

The view from Wales Taliesin Maynard, Programme Director, Environment, Welsh Government

12.20 – 12.30

The view from local authorities Lee Marshall, Chief Executive, The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC)


T he former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, and Senior Policy Advisor for Green Alliance, Amy Mount, will discuss how the Conservative government’s focus on reducing direct subsidies to renewable energy technologies will impact the UK’s ability to meet climate change, recycling and renewable heat and transport targets. The session will seek to outline the changing face of UK energy policy in light of the recent Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant decision, and feed in to the wider discussion: how the industry can develop a new self-sufficient strategy for AD as a low carbon, baseload energy source and continue to build a world class industry.

T his session will assess the options and pathways for AD that will deliver maximum value to the UK between now and 2050, and how these might change over time as decarbonisation takes place. Those pathways will reflect all of AD’s benefits – including its contribution to sustainable farming. Building consensus on AD’s future role will be critical to receiving government support, and therefore ultimately, the investment needed both to continue to build the industry and the national grids.

AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

ADBA National Conference 2015 Programme

ADBA National Conference 2015 BUILDING A WORLD CLASS AD INDUSTRY Time Description 12.30 – 12.40

Case study: food waste collection strategies for smart cities Bill Griffiths, National Organics Manager, Viridor

12.40 – 13.00

Questions and comments from the floor

13.00 – 14.00

Exhibition and lunch

14.00 – 15.00

Breakout session 1: How quickly can we get to a zero direct subsidy world?

Breakout session 2: Biomethane after the spending review: where next?

In any strategy for AD’s place in the UK’s energy policy, direct subsidy is likely to reduce over time. For ADBA to develop pathways for future support, in addition to a clear case for what the industry can deliver to the UK over time, we also need to demonstrate a trajectory to reduce cost to government. Panellists will discuss options for reducing the level of subsidy, including technological options, new finance structures and other opportunities.

Biomethane has taken off under the RHI, with 40 plants already on the scheme and delivering indigenous green gas. With government due to announce whether the RHI will be maintained beyond April 2016 in the autumn statement on 25 November, ADBA’s National Conference will offer the first chance for the industry to analyse and discuss the potential ramifications and identify next steps for the industry. Despite recognition of the role which biomethane can play in the decarbonisation of the UK’s heavy goods vehicles, and a growing market for gas vehicles, biomethane is still not well supported by the RTFO – panellists will discuss whether this will change, and what implications that would have for biomethane producers.

Chair: Chris Huhne, Strategic Advisor, ADBA Ollie More, Market Analyst, ADBA Shaun Pickering, Relationship Director, Lombard Bill Elliott, Owner, Best Organic Solutions James Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer, Biowatt Richard Barker, ex-CEO, Biogen (tbc) Questions and comments from the floor

Chair: Andrew Whittles, Managing Director, Low Emission Strategies Simon Trollope, Head of Communications, Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) Richard Lowes, Policy Manager, SGN Matt Hindle, Head of Policy, ADBA Speaker confirmed from DECC Speaker to be confirmed from DfT Questions and comments from the floor

15.00 – 15.30

Exhibition and coffee break

15.30 – 15.45

The future role of on-farm AD Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Select Committee

15.45 – 17.00

Breakout session 3: The pathways for on-farm AD with low financial incentives

Breakout session 4: Is digestate use and the development of bioresources the key to AD’s future?

AD is the perfect technology to integrate and complement successful farming business plans. Led by Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Select Committee, discussion will focus on the economic and other benefits AD offers farms of different types and size, the financial models and support available, and the viability of smaller AD plants. Panellists will assess how AD can improve the sustainability of farming businesses by limiting GHG emissions, creating nutrient rich digestate for fertiliser and enhancing food security by lengthening crop rotations.

AD’s growth since 2010 has been driven by renewable energy incentives, but the true value of digestate has not yet been realised. As the industry looks to develop pathways for future growth, this panel will consider whether markets, technology and regulation will drive changes which increase revenue and reduce risks for operators. It will draw on the expertise of practitioners involved in the digestate markets, and those who have been involved in the development of current and future regulation, including the progress of European Commission proposals on changes to ‘end of waste’ criteria. Looking forward, it will consider what role research and innovation will play in developing new markets for bioresources from digestate.

Chair: Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Select Committee Innes McEwan, Director of Farming, Future Biogas Speaker confirmed from Ricardo AEA Speaker confirmed from ADBA Speaker to be confirmed from CLA Questions and comments from the floor 17.00 – 19.00

Chair: Dr David Tompkins, Bioresources Development Manager, Aqua Enviro Mark Richmond, Technical Director, Renewables & Low Carbon, WRM Nina Sweet, Special Advisor – Organics, WRAP Speaker to be confirmed from Water UK Speaker to be confirmed from Gleadell Bioenergy Questions and comments from the floor

Drinks reception

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA National Conference 2015 Exhibitor Preview

Sponsor increases production of MWM engines Exhibiting at this year’s ADBA National Conference will be headline sponsor, Edina UK Ltd. The company supplies power generation to waste plants, AD facilities and CHP applications, and is the sole distributor for MWM in the UK and Ireland. Edina has stepped up its production of MWM engines in readiness of another surge in activity, prior to a predicted slow-down from 2017. This is due to the announcement by DECC, which proposes that the construction of biogas plants will be subject to a quota and limited on a quarterly basis. Ian Farr of Edina says: “We wholeheartedly support and contribute where possible to ADBA’s efforts on the industry’s behalf but, anticipating this scenario, we have been able to short-order supply generators for our clients this year, before the cessation of plant extensions next year. This has serious implications for jobs across Britain and the EU.”


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Tank solutions for a range of projects

Balmoral Tanks provides a range of storage solutions to the AD, WWT and water sectors. Visitors to the company’s stand will get a glimpse into how Balmoral Tanks supports its clients through the entire process, from design engineering and project management, to manufacturing and technical services. “Retaining control of all aspects of a project is critical to long-term success,” says Sales Director, Jon Smith. “The AD sector demands a great deal of front-end work to establish the best solution for any given project. In the early stages there is a strong focus on product selection that incorporates design, planning, cost and operational factors.”

ADBA National Conference 2015 Exhibitor Preview Optimising the AD process ADBA’s National Conference provides FM BioEnergy with the ideal platform to demonstrate its range of products and services, including: cost effective co-product feedstocks for sites with a gap in raw materials (something that is already becoming apparent due to the recent increase in AD capacity); silage additives to reduce storage losses, improve area efficiency and sustainability, and maximise methane yields; biological support and additives to ensure the process is stable and robust; and gas leakage detection to ensure fugitive emissions can be eliminated – something that could be hugely important in terms of RHI in the future. “In light of reduced tariffs, ensuring optimal biological performance is more important than ever,” says Tim Elsome, Business Development Manager.

Gas analysis ensures safe AD operations Geotech, UK manufacturer of fixed and portable gas analysers, is once again exhibiting at ADBA’s National Conference. Graham Sanders, UK Sales and Development Engineer, comments: “We’re looking forward to the Conference and will be showcasing our range of ATEX-certified portable biogas and landfill gas analysers. We will also be sharing the latest information on our fixed gas analyser, the ATEX-certified GA3000 PLUS, which is used to monitor and control the AD process and for pre- and post-desulphurisation at AD plants.” Literature will also be available relating to Geotech’s BIOGAS 300 fixed methane analyser, aimed at farmers looking to develop small scale on-farm AD facilities.

Recover more organics from packaged waste Depackaging expert Atritor is exhibiting at the ADBA National Conference to keep up to date with the latest news and developments in the AD world. “We are always looking to improve and adapt to the requirements of the waste to energy sector and the Conference gives us an opportunity to do that by talking to visitors and listening to speakers. We would welcome anyone to our stand to discuss projects that we have been involved in, both in the UK and Europe, and how we could help recover organics from packaged waste with up to 99 per cent efficiency,” says Mark Hulme, Sales Manager.

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Advice Clinic: On-farm AD

On-farm AD

In our regular advice column, ADBA members provide answers to some common AD queries


“I’m considering establishing an AD plant on our farm. When should I start thinking about finance and the information I’ll need to produce?”

“Discuss finance at the early stages of your project to understand how it works for AD. Speak to your bank, but don’t be surprised if they show little understanding of AD technology. You should also contact ADBA’s Farmers’ Consultancy Service for free advice on the feasibility of your project. Any finance provider will want a grid connection available and either planning achieved, or applied for, before seriously considering your project. You’ll need information on the plant’s technology, ongoing support and detailed pricing, as well as on how you intend to train yourself and others, and how you’ll operate the plant. You’ll also need details of feedstock and how you’ll secure future supply, in addition to plans for storing and spreading digestate, all rolled into financial forecasts with appropriate tariffs. Finance is available, you just need to make sure you approach every aspect correctly.”


“Local planning authorities recognise that AD developments make an important contribution to renewable energy targets, often with more limited visual and operational impacts than wind and solar schemes. However, while the National Planning Practice Guidance includes specific guidance for wind farms, it provides no guidance on processing AD applications or the impact of AD development. This contributes to a lack of understanding by local planning authorities, technical consultants and local residents. It is therefore important that planning applications address all relevant impacts, including landscape, highways, noise, odour, ecology and any other site specific constraints, while emphasising the benefits. Local planning authorities are generally supportive of AD schemes, providing the planning impacts of the proposals are fully considered and demonstrated to be acceptable, contributing to a timely and favourable determination of applications.”

Bruce Nelson, Director, Compass Renewables T +44 (0)1732 833477 E


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

“Are local planning authorities supportive of AD development?”

Edward Senior, Planner, Pegasus Group T +44 (0)113 287 8200 E

Advice Clinic: On-farm AD


“How important are daily checks to long-term digester health?”

“Our recent white paper, ‘The first 180 days of an AD plant’, shows just how effective daily checks are. They contribute to long-term plant health and as you build up a database of daily recordings this can be a very helpful reference point if a drop in performance does occur. As a minimum, daily recordings should be made of biogas produced in the last 24 hours, methane and hydrogen sulphide percentages in the biogas, plant temperature and the feedstock types or volumes over the past 24 hours.” Sonya Bedford, Head of Renewable Energy at Stephens Scown and a Non-Executive Director of Regen SW T +44 (0)1392 210700 E


“What is my on-farm AD plant worth?”

“The price that someone will pay for a property will depend on who the purchaser is and what their objectives are. Comparable evidence against similar properties is the most direct and simple approach for the valuation of property assets. However, given the lack of comparable evidence for AD, the value will normally be assessed on the ‘worth’ to an investor and what they would be willing to pay for the acquisition of an operational project, based on the future revenue and potential. The value to a specific individual may be different; for example, we could take an AD plant where a farmer is able to produce and guarantee all the feedstock for the length of the project (either by growing crops on their own land or by using farm waste which currently incurs a disposal cost), spread all the digestate produced (and benefit from that by displacing existing fertiliser costs), and take all the heat and a proportion of the electricity (again, displacing existing costs and reducing the effect of rising energy prices). A third party investor might not have those same benefits and so the incomes would be worth less to them than the farmer. Valuations must be undertaken by a specialist who is experienced in both AD and valuation.” Cath Anthony, Rural Surveyor, Bidwells T +44 (0)1223 841841 E

Is AD right for your farming business? Find out whether AD could be a good fit for your farming business through ADBA’s free dedicated Farmers’ Consultancy Service. Our team of consultants has been carefully selected on the basis of their extensive AD experience and project success, and can offer all the support, advice, information and contacts you need to help get your on-farm AD project to the finish line.


“How do I maximise dry matter (DM) yields across my maize acreage?”


“Growers are now increasingly adept at growing maize for AD, with 30,000 hectares of the crop destined for AD plants. It’s no longer a question of what you should grow, but rather which varieties and practices will maximise yields. Most growers have the drilling and harvesting kit they require, but are rightly tinkering with variety selection. Our advice is to use a mix of maize types that can deliver across an average season. At the same time though, drilling early and lowering seed rates to suit a variety that can make best use of the soil and season is key. Our online oil temperature and heat unit monitoring service helps in this regard. We are also working much more closely with advisors and farmers to ensure a more timely harvest programme that reduces risks of soil loss or soil damage and leads to better establishment of the following crop.” John Burgess, UK Maize Product Manager, KWS T +44 (0)1763 207300 E


“How do I maximise my RHI income?”

“A typical 500 kW AD plant could earn a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) income of £200,000 per year for 20 years, if you can identify a year-round heat demand. Although heating offices and workshops may seem like obvious applications, they will only use a small proportion of the total heat produced. What you really need is an all year, even 24/7, heat requirement. Eligible uses range from heating livestock buildings to drying grain, wood chip or even digestate. So, the trick is to think as widely as possible and include as many out-of-season heat applications as you can. Significant investment may be required to maximise your heat use, so it is important to fully investigate all options. As the future of the RHI is uncertain after March 2016 we strongly recommend acting sooner rather than later.” Elisa Evans, Energy Account Analyst, Farm Energy Centre T +44 (0)2476 698899 E

Next issue: Future of incentives Please send in your questions for our Policy Team to:

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Members’ News & Views BioDynamic UK/FM BioEnergy: Expert advice er proves invaluable to AD newcomers memb BioDynamic UK operates a 2.5 MW AD plant in Colwick, Nottinghamshire, which treats 150,000 tonnes of food waste each year. As a first-time developer, the company faced many obstacles in its journey to successful AD operation, but thanks to expert biological support from FM BioEnergy, keeping the digester running smoothly wasn’t one of them. Our Editor, Kate O’Reilly, visited the plant to find out more...

through planning, receiving zero objections. But other areas weren’t quite so straightforward. “As well as the issue with funding, the site had an active maggot farm, which had to be removed before we could start work. Then, once we became operational, we realised that our calculations for pasteurisation were incorrect – our pasteurisation system worked fine up to 500 kW, but as we ramped up our operations during the commissioning phase, we hit problems. We had no option but to re-engineer the plant and bring in additional tanks.”

BioDynamic’s Billy and Maxwell Bagnall (far left and far right), with Adrian Rochefort and Tim Elsome of FM BioEnergy (centre)

With a background in solar energy and procurement, and a passion for turning waste into something positive, brothers Maxwell and Billy Bagnall saw developing an AD plant as the next natural step for their business. However, as Maxwell openly admits, the reality was much tougher than either of them had anticipated. “When we took over the site in January 2014, we had just 12 months to get our plant up and running, because of the FIT deadline. We were never in any doubt that we could achieve it – in fact, we started commissioning just nine months later – but there were definitely issues along the way.” “Our biggest hurdle was finance,” admits Maxwell. “We found that investors would say ‘yes’ right until it came to transferring the funds – at which point their answer changed to ‘no’. We dug in our heels and never gave up, constantly changing our plans until we got the answers we needed. In the end, the plant was financed by a combination of self-funding, asset funding, local development grant funding, and crowd funding.” The plant’s location was perfect (next to a waste management site at the back of an industrial estate), and BioDynamic’s application sailed

The Nottinghamshire-based AD plant processes local food waste


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015


One area which has caused the brothers no concerns, however, is the performance of their digester. They made a decision very early on to hand over the biological management of the plant to FM BioEnergy, who were recommended by another operator. Tim Elsome is Business Development Manager for FM BioEnergy and praises BioDynamic UK for securing expert help from the start. “Often, we are brought in to deal with the aftermath of a biological issue. It’s far better for an operator to avoid such issues in the first place, as the results of a digester failing can be catastrophic. BioDynamic used our start-up consultancy service, which successfully guided them through the tricky commissioning phase. We supplied a feeding plan, additives and analysed the plant’s performance twice a week to ensure it was brought up to full capacity in the shortest timeframe. We had one unexpected issue, which highlighted the fact that the pump was over delivering and shock loading the system at times. We also identified an issue with the variable feedstock dry matter content. We advised them to change their pumps and invest in some basic lab equipment to ensure better process control.” BioDynamic Regular testing and a bespoke now has its mix of additives keep the digester own laboratory running smoothly equipment and tests regularly in-house. “We consult and advise the company based on its in-house results, and also provide a bespoke mix of trace elements, which is reviewed every three months,” adds Tim. “This keeps the operation stable and robust, meaning BioDynamic is in a good position to consider any offers of feedstock that may arise.” Maxwell has a word of advice for any would-be developers: “I now know this plant like the back of my hand and, despite the hurdles, it’s been a joy. But as a first-time operator, it’s important to know your limitations – to keep your plant running safely and efficiently, go to an expert. Our AD operation is now going from strength to strength, and we expect to be running at full capacity by the end of this year.”

Members’ News & Views Biomass sustainability criteria – a new era er memb for biogas operators under the RHI e By Dr Paul Adams, Director of Synertree Ltd and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bath


DECC has introduced biomass sustainability criteria (BSC) for installations using biomass and biogas fuels, and producers of biomethane under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The legislation will affect all existing and new RHI-accredited biogas and biomethane facilities. From 5 October 2015, biogas operators must use fuels that meet the sustainability criteria to continue to receive RHI payments. The criteria include1: • Greenhouse gas criteria – biomass fuel used must meet a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 34.8g CO2e per MJ of heat, ie 60 per cent GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel average; • Land criteria – since biogas crops are mainly grown on arable land, the primary risk is converting grassland to cropland, for which a carbon stock calculation must be performed2. For biogas facilities producing heat, lifecycle GHG emissions are calculated using the conversion efficiency value, eg boiler efficiency. Biomethane producers are required to calculate emissions at the point of injection into the gas grid. A recent Energy Policy paper, which I co-authored, describes some of the key issues with calculating GHG emissions for biogas and biomethane facilities3. There are currently two GHG calculators for biogas and biomethane: • E 4Tech B2C2, developed with Ofgem’s support, for a range of bioenergy options: • R icardo’s GHG model, which is specifically for biomethane operators: E Sustainability criteria under the RHI will not be grandfathered, which means all RHI scheme participants are subject to any changes in BSC; for example, a reduction in the GHG limit. Although DECC has said that it will not change criteria without consultation, this represents a significant risk for developers and investors. Compliance for biogas facilities requires investment in robust systems and processes for collecting and managing data, calculating GHG

emissions, and reporting to Ofgem. Evidence that needs to be collected includes land use records (including pre-2008), fertiliser application, crop yields, transport records, feedstock delivery notes, stock records, biogas production, electricity and fuel use, etc. All biogas facilities using crops or residues are required to report the GHG figure for each consignment every quarter. Biogas facilities ≥1MW and all biomethane facilities must also complete an annual sustainability audit4. Several crops have a risk of failure due to relatively high fertiliser inputs or low yields; BSC therefore requires good management and forward planning. E T +44 (0)7815 152594 1 3

2 4

CPI leads multi-million pound seaweed AD project

The SeaGas project will work on producing biomethane from seaweed

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is leading a £2.78m collaboration to help strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in industrial biotechnology. The three year project, ‘SeaGas’, will work on producing biomethane from seaweed through AD. The project consists of six partners, including: The Crown Estate; the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas); the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS); Queen’s University Belfast; and Newcastle University. The project will bring together expertise in AD process development, seaweed growth and storage, economic modelling, environmental and social impact assessment, and the supply chain – from seabed access for seaweed farming through to biogas injection into the grid. It hopes to be a platform for further exploitation of seaweed in other applications. Funding comes from Innovate UK, the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). See feature, Unlocking AD feedstocks, p8

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Members’ News & Views

Operator News Fuel for 1,000 homes thanks to new AD plant in Suffolk A new AD plant in Suffolk is set to fuel 1,000 local homes with sustainable energy while at the same time offering benefits for local farmers. Gas made from maize is being pumped into National Grid’s local gas network with the opening of the plant at the Euston Estate, near Thetford. The state-of-the-art facility can deliver up to 1,000m3 of gas per hour and marks the first gas to grid project for Euston Biogas Ltd. Crops Maize is providing gas for and agricultural bi-products for the plant will be National Grid’s network provided by Strutt and Parker (Farms) Ltd (Euston in Suffolk Biogas’ parent company) and by other local farmers. For National Grid, this is one of the first of at least 80 projects around the country that the company is aiming to connect to its network by 2020. It also represents the third biogas plant it has connected in Suffolk. Richard Court, Head of Stakeholder Delivery at National Grid, commented: “This is great news for local people. Biogas can make a significant contribution to keeping our energy supplies secure, affordable and green. Developers are rapidly expanding the biomethane to gas grid market and we are committed to playing our part fully in helping them bring their projects to fruition and flow gas into the network.”

Industry accreditation makes Biogen UK’s biggest certified AD plant operator Biogen has become the largest certified AD plant operator in the UK after its Hertfordshire plant was accredited with the industry certification PAS 110, for the digestate produced as part of its recycling process. The PAS 110 accreditation given to AD operators by the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) provides assurance to consumers, farmers, food producers and retailers that digestate produced through anaerobic digestion is safe for human, animal and plant health and is fit for spreading to farmland as a replacement for chemical fertilisers. “I’m extremely proud that our AD plants have the PAS 110 certification,” said Julian O’Neill, Biogen's Chief Executive. “Our unstinting focus on operations excellence and compliance across the organisation, coupled with industry leading plant design, is reflected in the achievement of this most recent award.” Only 37 AD plants in the UK have achieved the sought after certification. Biogen is the only operator to have five accredited plants. Biogen’s Bygrave Lodge plant has now received PAS 110 accreditation for its digestate

Tamar Energy staff turn teacher for the day Tamar Energy is Headteacher Sarah Donnelly (centre) with Tamar educating Essex Energy’s Dawn Revens and Richard de Clare pupils schoolchildren about how reducing, reusing and recycling can help solve the problem of food waste in the UK. Pupils at Richard de Clare primary school in Halstead were treated to a special assembly from the company, which operates an AD facility in the town. Dawn Revens, Tamar Energy’s Head of Operational Support, used photos of the plant to show the children how food scraps thrown away by local homes are converted into electricity. The plant produces enough energy to power more than 4,000 homes, from around 45,000 tonnes of food waste per year that could otherwise end up in landfill. Dawn said: “It was a really successful day introducing ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ to a new generation. The children understood that we all have a role to play in dealing with reducing food waste, and were really interested in how renewable energy can be created from unavoidable food scraps.”


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

R&D Update Focus on phosphorus

For information and advice on our R&D activities, contact our Market Analyst, Ollie More T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E


hosphorus is essential to life. It forms part of all DNA and is used by animals and plants to transport cellular energy. Phosphates (see phosphate molecule, right) are therefore essential nutrients, used in crop cultivation, and cannot be substituted by alternatives.

The European Commission is funding a research programme, P-REX (, which aims to develop the technologies available to extract phosphorus from sewage sludge. According to Christian Kabbe of Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin in Germany (, under 3,000 tonnes of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) is produced in Europe from sewage sludge each year. Developing markets for struvite and more efficient technologies to extract phosphorus from sewage sludge are two of the objectives of the project.

© Thames Water

Phosphorus fertilisers can be produced from mining – Europe imports 90 per cent of its phosphorus. However, they can also be produced by turning wastes, such as food waste and sewage, into digestate through anaerobic digestion. This second scenario is the only sustainable method, as mining all the earth’s phosphorus without recycling any back into the agricultural system will lead to it ending up, via humans, soils and rivers, in the sea.

Struvite can be precipitated from digestate (see WRAP paper on this and other nutrient-extraction options And Thames Water is producing struvite pellets at its Slough Water Treatment Works ( Progress is clearly being made, but government must support further commercial demonstration of this, particularly outside of the water sector, to reduce perceived risk, establish costs and, from there, encourage private sector investment. The R&D page on our website lists all the latest research being conducted in this sector, including on struvite. Find out more at

2016 ADBA Research (22-23 March 2016, & Innovation Forum The University of York*) Call for papers now open Following our successful R&D Forum in April 2015, held at the University of Southampton in partnership with the BBSRC-funded AD Network and supported by the KTN, ADBA is delighted to announce the opening of the call for papers for innovative and ground-breaking work within the AD sector.

What we’re looking for

*Venue to be confirmed imminently. For the latest information please check our website events page at

Case studies: Are you an AD researcher who works with AD businesses to solve problems or improve plant efficiency? Or a business that has successfully partnered with a university or R&D business and seen demonstrable improvements in AD plant performance, perhaps through increasing output, or reducing operational costs?

Papers: Are you a researcher or business that has recently undertaken research that would be of value to the AD sector? For example, making concentrated fertilisers from digestate or creating cost-effective treatments of high-lignin feedstocks? Come and disseminate the results of your work.

Submissions should be 300-500 words in length so that we may gain a snapshot of your aims and the benefit this could bring to the AD community. Questions and submissions should be sent to:

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News



Food waste action plan kicks off ADBA joined the first meeting of a steering group to develop a new Food Waste Recycling Action Plan. With the support of Defra, WRAP has set out to develop a coordinated, agreed plan between the waste industry, trade bodies and local authorities. From our perspective, this is a major opportunity to make suggestions to improve the capture and treatment of food waste in England. It will allow us to promote good practice, and advocate stronger policy from central government. However, Defra is clearly looking for proposals which can be widely supported by all of the organisations involved, and finding agreement for strong, meaningful actions will be challenging – particularly if they have cost implications for Local Authorities or impact existing contracts. The aim is to publish an agreed plan by 31 March 2016, though the group may make recommendations for work which would continue after that point. The current plan is to deliver work in four areas: • Household food waste collection infrastructure; • Commercial food waste collections; • Contractual issues; • Operational issues. 30

AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

We will ensure that members’ views are reflected in all of these areas, and we are particularly keen to ensure that the collections work makes a strong statement on the importance of segregated collections. This is also an excellent opportunity to gather evidence and refute common concerns, notably around the cost of collections. The process will also take into account existing work; for example, on quality (ie reducing contamination) and harmonising collections. We have been actively pushing Defra for policy which will support more councils and businesses to use segregated collection schemes for food waste. See feature, Unlocking AD feedstocks, p8

Get involved To feed in your views and submit evidence towards the Food Waste Action Recycling Plan, contact

Policy EA sheds light on AD sector’s performance record

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

Speaking separately at Defra’s Biowaste Regulatory Forum and ADBA’s own Regulatory Forum (see review on p38), the Environment Agency (EA) has released more detail on its performance figures for the AD sector in 2014. Biowaste treatment technologies in general continue to provide a high proportion of permit breaches, which means the sector is high on the Agency’s agenda to encourage improvement. That said, evidence clearly shows that the sector as a whole is improving. For permitted on-farm plants, eight per cent were rated as D-F (the bottom of the EA’s scale) for permit compliance in 2014. On other AD sites, six per cent were in the same category. Reporting problems were a key reason for breaches – in other words, ensuring high quality record keeping could significantly reduce the EA’s attention on the sector. For merchant waste sites, a quarter of permit breaches resulted from odour issues, though these took place on just four of the 64 permitted sites. Although the number of sites with problems significant enough to cause a permit breach is low, the Agency emphasised that odour and biofilter performance are significant issues. It wants to see the industry taking a proactive approach to ensuring high standards of operation, and we will reflect this in our plans for industry-led best practice. Waste operators will be aware that the EA conducted a desk audit of permitted sites in January 2015. It is now planning to conduct a full audit of the 50 sites which scored lowest in that exercise, along similar lines to their standard site audits.

Get involved We are interested in hearing from members regarding their experience of EA audits, or about any other issues relating to this area. Contact

New feedstock opportunities from grass Representatives from ADBA attended the recent Biomass Supply Chain Forum at the University of Lincoln, organised and hosted by Peakhill Associates’s Dr Nick Cheffins, who has been working on a project that investigates the feasibility of using roadside verge biomass in AD. The event brought together stakeholders and interested parties to hear the progress that has been made on the project, which is funded through SUSTAIN Lincolnshire. Currently, grass cuttings from roadside verge maintenance are considered a waste or a by-product, and it is common practice to leave them in-situ. Unfortunately, this is not the best management approach if aiming to improve the ecological value of the verges. Nick's project is based on

the alternative concept of managing the vegetation for high biodiversity by harvesting the verge biomass and using it in AD. This could allow the creation of wildlife corridors along our road networks; studies in Lincolnshire have shown that if managed correctly, verges can provide vital habitat for wildflowers and the wildlife that depends on them. With council budgets under huge pressure, securing an economic return for the harvested biomass through AD could make such maintenance more viable for local authorities. However, the key regulatory consideration is whether or not the biomass will be classed as a ‘waste’ – this will determine whether it can be accepted at non-waste AD facilities and will have financial and practical implications for the project. It will also affect how it needs to be handled and regulated, from the point of collection through to bulking, storage, transportation, pre-treatment and processing at an AD plant. Discussions at the forum also covered the practicalities and operational considerations of using grass as a feedstock in an AD plant, and Nick’s project will continue to look at this. The event did a great job in highlighting how the AD industry could play an important part in wildlife conservation, providing yet another benefit in addition to those it already delivers to the economy, energy and food security, rural communities and the environment. See feature, Unlocking AD feedstocks, p8

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News



News from the regions

Scotland Office Minister toasts bright future for Scotch at sustainable distillery

Quarter of Swansea’s black bag waste is leftover food Swansea residents are being urged not to put their food waste into black bags after a survey by Swansea Council found more than a quarter of waste in black bags is leftover food. Recycling officers will take to the streets to provide help and advice to households to ensure people get the most out of the collection scheme. Rebecca Tribe, Recycling Officer for Swansea Council, said: “Food waste recycling is improving in Swansea and we are seeing an increase every year in terms of the amount we are collecting from the kerbside. But in our study of around one tonne of waste collected from households, more than a quarter was found to be leftover food. We want residents to use the green caddies to dispose of food waste so it’s not ending up in landfill. It will also help discourage animals and birds from tearing open black bags and leaving a mess on pavements.”

Scotland Office Minister, Lord Dunlop, met a group of Diageo engineering apprentices at the company’s Glendullan Distillery in Speyside, home to a £12m AD plant. The plant represents the latest phase in an ongoing programme which has seen Diageo invest over £100m in renewable energy projects at its distilleries over recent years. The Glendullan facility, which was built in partnership with Clearfleau, takes the natural co-products from distillation and converts them into biogas using anaerobic digestion. It has reduced the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to removing 740 cars from the road. “The commitment to powering distilleries like Glendullan with sustainable energy – recycled from the co-products of the whisky-making process – is exactly the right thing to do. Good for the planet, good for the whisky industry and good for the Scottish economy,” said Lord Dunlop. L-R: Lord Dunlop, Keith Miller of Diageo and Clearfleau’s Craig Chapman at the Glendullan AD plant

Food waste AD boosts Scottish power sector Scotland’s AD industry has mushroomed by more than two thirds in a year, new figures show. A total of 27 AD projects are up and running in Scotland, up 69 per cent (from 16) 12 months ago, while a further 43 have planning approval. With a dozen more plants waiting for permission to go ahead, the sector could grow by more than 200 per cent in the next two years. “These new figures show that AD is being taken extremely seriously by Scottish businesses,” said Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “Increasingly, waste has value. The AD process recognises that, and turns things we don’t want, like food waste and farmyard slurry, into something we desperately need – clean, affordable electricity.” 32

AD & Bioresources News | november september2015 2015

Operator & Working Groups Biomethane Roundtable assesses future of energy production Last month (October) saw ADBA host a roundtable discussion in Bristol. Featuring leading experts from across the transport, C&I and utilities industries, the event aimed to assess the future role of biogas and biomethane in UK energy production. It is important to consider both the short and long term potential of biogas – in the short term, it can make a valuable contribution to 2020 renewable energy targets, and to the third and fourth carbon budgets in the 2018-27 period.

Get involved Our operator and working groups cover the whole spectrum of the AD industry, supporting operators, shaping debate, raising standards and influencing policy. To find out more, or to attend a forthcoming meeting, go to the members’ area at or contact our Head of Policy, Matt Hindle: T +44 (0)203 176 0591 But we must also consider its potential to support carbon budgets beyond 2027, leading to the 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Following a set of presentations by Ollie More, Chris Huhne and Andy Eastlake, MD of LowCVP, the group agreed the following: • The UK will still need a gas grid in 2050; • Pumping biomethane into the grid offers the route with the most potential for use as a transport fuel; • Supporting the gas-to-grid market in the short term will allow for the decarbonisation of heat and electricity, and support the medium-term decarbonisation of transport. The group discussion highlighted that biogas/biomethane has a big role to play in the decades to come; however, there is more work to be done to evaluate the various pathways. See ADBA News, p6, for further details

Permit breaches top of agenda for Food Waste Operators Group Our Food Waste Operators Group met recently in Birmingham to discuss a packed agenda. Attendees heard updates on European End of Waste criteria and ADBA’s work on food waste collections; but it was biowaste treatment technologies which topped the bill, as they continue to account for a high proportion of permit breaches, leaving the sector high on the Environment Agency’s (EA) list for encouraging improvement. The group discussed a meeting of the Biowaste Regulatory Forum that was attended by representatives from ADBA, in which the EA provided more detail on the breaches. In 2014, eight per cent of permitted on-farm plants were rated D-F (the bottom of the EA’s scale) for permit compliance. For other AD sites, six per cent were in the same category. With reporting problems cited as a key reason for breaches, it is clear that improved record keeping could significantly reduce the EA’s attention on the sector. And while a quarter of permit breaches on merchant waste sites resulted from odour issues, this accounted for just four of the total 64 permitted sites. The EA conducted a desk audit of permitted sites at the start of this year, and the Agency is now planning to conduct a full audit of the 50 sites which scored lowest in that exercise. See Policy, p30, for further details

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Visit us on stand H301 at UK AD & Biogas 2015


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Upcoming Events

3 dec 2015

ADBA National Conference 2015 One Great George Street, London

22-23 Mar 2016

ADBA Research & Innovation Forum 2016 The University of York (tbc)

TBC 2016

UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference 2016 Venue tbc

AD & Biogas 2016 6-7 Jul 2016

6 jul 2016

NEC Birmingham

AD & Biogas Industry Awards NEC Birmingham

In the aftermath of the general election and November’s spending review, our seventh ADBA National Conference will outline a strategic vision to build a world class AD industry. This year’s agenda will pay particular attention to the impact of key government decisions on the Feed-in Tariff, the Renewable Heat Incentive and food waste collection, and set out ADBA’s pathways for the industry’s future. The event provides a great chance to network with key players from across the AD spectrum and will include presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, networking and table top exhibitions. In partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Anaerobic Digestion Network and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), the 2016 ADBA Research & Innovation Forum will bring together the AD industry, academia and the public sector to learn and discuss the latest in AD Research & Innovation. Following our successful Biomethane Roundtable, held in partnership with European Green Capital – Bristol 2015, our third UK Biomethane and Gas Vehicle Conference will examine the future pathways in which biomethane can play a role in decarbonising HGVs and bus fleets, in turn improving air quality while reducing vehicle noise. It will also consider the remaining barriers to greater uptake in the UK, bringing together local authorities, the transport sector and biomethane producers. Returning to the NEC, Birmingham for the seventh time in July 2016, the only tradeshow in the UK dedicated to AD, biogas and bioresources is expanding to include a global outlook. As well as addressing issues critical to the UK, it will also examine business opportunities in established and emerging international AD markets. This year’s show will offer even better value to attendees, with a high-level summit featuring global industry leaders and influencers, detailed streams on operational performance, R&D and bioresources, as well as technical sessions and workshops. With over 300 exhibitors showcasing the latest live kit from around the globe on the show floor, an AD plant visit, biomethane vehicle area, advice clinics and R&D Hub – AD & Biogas 2016 is the ideal place to get updated on everything from policy and regulation (both domestic and international), to process optimisation. The event also provides great opportunities to network and do some serious business. Stand space is filling fast – book your place today. Contact E T +44 (0)203 176 4414 Our fifth annual industry awards will reward AD innovation and achievement from the past 12 months and simultaneously raise the profile and highlight the benefits of AD, both in the UK and internationally. Incorporating a drinks reception, three-course dinner with wine and entertainment, this event is also an excellent networking opportunity.

Third Party Events 11-12 Nov 2015

10-11 feb 2016

Farm Business This is the event for farmers, land owners and estate owners looking to diversify, innovate and make more from their land. Featuring 150 seminars, 6,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors, Innovation you’ll find all the inspiration, support and resources needed to make your rural business a 2015 NEC Birmingham

success. Visit ADBA at stand 192.

Energy Now Expo 2016

The Energy Now Expo is the renewable energy event organised exclusively for the agricultural and rural communities. Each year the show welcomes thousands of farmers and landowners from all over the UK, looking to explore and further understand the renewable opportunities available, as well as the best practices in energy management.

Telford International Centre

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Membership Matters Become part of the UK’s biggest AD community Join ADBA, the UK’s biggest AD community. For more information contact Jay Abai, our Head of Membership: E T +44 (0)203 176 5416. Or go to

“We are delighted to be part of something that really helps to drive the UK AD industry forward. As an ADBA member we benefit from a number of networking events with other industry leaders, as well 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

“Membership of ADBA has been an essential part of our development as a company. The website is a great reference resource for technical information, and regular posts from the well-informed team provide rapid and essential insight into the continuously shifting regulatory environment. The R&D forums, trade show and other network events have been extremely enjoyable and valuable to us in finding our place in a rapidly developing industry, and we have benefited greatly from both attending and contributing to these events.” Stirling Paatz, Managing Director, New Generation Biogas

“Our membership of ADBA provides the perfect platform from which to communicate with key sectors of the AD market. Promoting policy and keeping a watchful eye on market developments, we rely on ADBA to inform us of developments within the sector at the highest possible levels.” Jonathan Smith, Sales Director, Balmoral Tanks

Welcome new ADBA members! ADvantage Biogas Ltd AppliTek Andrew Shaw – sole trader Best Organic Solutions Burst Energies Inc Clarke Willmott LLP Octego Plusterwine Biogas Ltd Shann Pitts Consulting Symonds Farm Power Ltd The Walton Partnership Tony Doyle Woxford Environmental Engineering and Technical Services Ltd

The political case for AD starts with you! The decisions that will shape the industry over the next five years could be determined in the next few months. It has never been more important to exhort the excellent return on investment that our industry contributes to various government targets. To achieve this recognition we must all act together to engage our respective local MPs and encourage them to advocate our case in Parliament. We have a great opportunity to build a world class industry – but only if we work together now to increase our longer term competitiveness in return for continued short-term government support.

MP Briefing

What can you do?

• Download a template letter from to invite your constituency Member of Parliament to visit your site/plant. • Use the MP Briefing enclosed, also available on our website • Or contact Derek Sivyer, our Parliamentary Affairs Manager, for assistance:

Watch out for your copy in this issue.


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

Help build the case for AD to government!

Membership Matters

Safety First

By Dorian Harrison, Technical Director, GE Power & Water

Pressure management The core function of an anaerobic digester is the conversion of organic material into biogas. However, this very process leads to probably the single largest risk to an operating plant – pressure. Both high and low pressure will put mechanical stress on a system. Usually, but not always, this presents as a force on the digester roof: high pressure will try to push the digester roof off; low pressure will try to suck the digester roof in.

Simple protection can prevent mechanical damage to tanks. Any tank that produces gas, that can be isolated, or that has variable liquid level should allow for free movement of gas. Pipework should be adequately designed for maximum gas flow and fall to suitable condensation drainage. Biologically active tanks should have pressure and vacuum relief valves fitted and, ideally, the headspace pressure should be monitored to detect abnormal events.

The most common causes of high pressure are more gas being produced than can be removed from a closed system; a closed system heating up and the gas trying to expand; or a gas space being reduced by a fluid being pumped into a closed tank. The reverse of these will result in low pressure. Gas always flows from a high to low pressure area, so the highest pressure point in any system is where the gas is produced. Unfortunately, this is often the most likely point of failure. Typically, a digester is designed to withstand between 3-40mbarg above atmospheric pressure and 5mbarg below before it fails. If gas is restricted by a blocked gas pipe or manual isolation, for example, high and low pressures can form almost instantly. As an illustration, 1m3 of gas production into a 30m diameter digester will raise the gas pressure by about 1mbarg if not relieved. Over-pressure can therefore arise very quickly.

november 2015 | 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: Jamil Ahad, Andre John, Barbara Landell Mills, Rachel McGhie and Kelly Oxenham. We would also like to welcome Neill Wightman, who has joined as our Events and Sponsorship Manager, and Maryanne Torok, our new Database Marketing Assistant – find out more about their new roles below.

“I’m delighted to be heading up sponsorship and stand sales for AD & Biogas 2016, as well as other industry-leading ADBA events. With a background in publishing and events within the renewable energy sector, I feel ideally placed to support members and wider industry customers in achieving their business goals.”

Head of Policy, Matt Hindle T +44 (0)203 176 0591 E Policy Officer, Will Bushby T +44 (0)203 176 5440 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

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

PR & Parliamentary Affairs Manager, Derek Sivyer T +44 (0)203 176 5441 E Head of Membership, Jay Abai T +44 (0)203 176 5416 E

Welcome Maryanne “With a degree in communications, I have been working in digital advertising in both Sydney and London for four years. I am interested in marketing and sustainability, and have joined ADBA to help manage its database and provide support to the wider marketing team.”

Events and Sponsorship Manager, Neill Wightman T +44 (0)203 176 4414 E Head of Marketing Services, Helen Reddick T +44 (0)203 176 0592 E Event Producer, Ed Gavaghan T +44 (0)203 176 4415 E Senior Marketing Executive, Vera Gerson T +44 (0)203 176 0590 E

Maryanne Torok, Database Marketing Assistant T +44 (0)203 567 0769 E

Database Marketing Assistant, Maryanne Torok T +44 (0)203 567 0769 E

Regulatory Forum members receive welcome news on end of waste


ur most recent Regulatory Forum took place in October at the Leeds offices of Walker Morris, where members had the opportunity to hear updates from key regulatory bodies on developments in AD regulation. Eric Liégeois from the European Commission in Brussels joined us via Skype with an update on the Commission’s proposals for end of waste for digestate. Eric delivered some very welcome breaking news that the Commission is intending to allow Member States to have ‘partial harmonisation’ of the new regulations, which appears to allow the UK to retain our existing end of waste provisions (ie PAS 110), when trading digestate within our own borders. Attendees also enjoyed two useful presentations from the Environment Agency; Viv Dennis gave an update on regulatory issues and the AD industry’s performance, while Ian Brindley spoke about the Agency’s ongoing review of exemptions. AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

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

Welcome Neill


TEAM Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton T + 44 (0)203 176 0503 E

Accountant, Amy Pritchard T +44 (0)203 176 6962 E Office Executive, Peter Mackintosh T +44 (0)203 176 0503 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

In addition, there were some interesting case studies. Kristy BlakeboroughWesson (GWE Biogas) described GWE’s approach to managing digestate, and Andrew Williamson (Walker Morris) discussed a major planning inquiry for an AD plant near Bury. Our Head of Policy, Matt Hindle, then updated attendees on the latest policy developments, and Jess Allan, our Environment and Regulation Manager, spoke about our upcoming Best Practice Scheme – expect to hear much more about this in the coming months.

Get involved Our next Regulatory Forum is due to take place in May 2016 – if you are interested in speaking or have any ideas for topics, please contact Jess Allan, Environment and Regulation Manager: E T +44 (0)203 735 8380

Exhibitor Profiles

november 2015 | AD & Bioresources News


Exhibitor Profiles


AD & Bioresources News | november 2015

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