Page 1



Issue 39 spring 2018

Aiming high – securing AD’s future through good practice

Latest on imminent RHI reforms

Enter AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018

Biogas upgrading technology

2018 Plant Update


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Foreword Making better use of resources

Inside this issue > Foreword:


View from the Top:


ADBA News: Best Practice Matters:


Devolved Administrations:


Operator & Working Groups:


Feature: Good practice:


Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading:


Government & Agency News:


ADBA National Conference 2017 Review:


Plant Update:


AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018 Preview:


UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 Preview:


Members’ News and Views:




R&I Update:


ADBA R&I Forum 2018 Preview:


R&I Special: Bioresources:


Upcoming Events: Membership Matters:

By Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


39 40-42


f the UK is to meet its climate change targets in the years ahead, we need to stop thinking in terms of waste and focus instead on how we make the most of our resources. Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January, offers important indications of the direction of government policies that are relevant to the UK anaerobic digestion (AD) industry, itself a key player in achieving this collective change of mindset. The government’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy will provide more detail on how we can make the most of our resources. There are clear challenges for local authorities in terms of funding, but there is also a challenge around supporting householders to separate and recycle their food waste, as even the best-performing households may only recycle 70 per cent of their food waste. The 25 Year Environment Plan identifies recycling food waste as a key priority, pledging to continue to increase the number of local authorities in England providing separate food waste collections. We want to see zero food waste going to landfill by 2030, and while the number of local authorities collecting food waste has steadily increased, there is still much more to do in this area. The Plan also includes a target for all soils in England to be managed sustainably by 2030, an area where AD can make a key contribution through the production of digestate-derived biofertiliser. AD has emerged as an innovative method to recycle nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium within agricultural systems, closing the loop by returning agri-food waste back to agricultural soil. We need to realise the value and potential of digestate and create sustainable end markets for this important resource. A professional, responsible AD industry is critical to turning waste into resources. That’s why government welcomes ADBA’s new AD Certification Scheme, and strongly recommends that ADBA members and other AD facility managers get involved. AD has a vital part to play in the transition from a throwaway society to a circular economy, and I look forward to continuing to work with the industry to achieve these policy goals over the coming year.

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

AD&Bioresources News FEATURES Features planned for Issue 40 (Summer) include: • Feature: Biomethane for transport • Technology Focus: Food waste treatment technology • Advice Clinic: On-farm AD • AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018 Preview • UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 Preview Copy deadline: 7th April

Sponsorship and advertising: T +44 (0)203 176 4414 E

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


View from the Top Clearly communicating the benefits of AD By Charlotte Morton, ADBA’s Chief Executive


hen the Committee on Climate Change’s chair Lord Deben (better known to many as former Environment Secretary John Gummer) delivered his keynote presentation at the ADBA National Conference 2017 in December, he had a specific message: the AD industry needs to communicate more clearly to government and to the wider public what AD is and what it can offer. It is sometimes easy for those of us who work in the industry to take for granted that the people we communicate with already know this, but this is often not the case – the AD process is complex and the industry multi-faceted, spanning the energy, farming, transport, water, and food and drink sectors. The need to make AD more easily understandable comes at a critical juncture for the industry. The publication of the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan over the past six months has demonstrated that there is a clear role for AD in reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, restoring our soils, and improving our use of resources. These strategic documents sit alongside a range of existing targets and goals such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the UK’s Carbon Budgets, and the EU’s new Circular Economy Package (if it ends up being adopted by the UK), all of which will also require a major contribution from AD in order to be met. The forthcoming Resources & Waste and Bioeconomy Strategies, both due to be published this year by the UK government, should only serve to strengthen AD’s case. There remain, however, a number of policy stumbling blocks. Whilst the long-awaited reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive are due to be passed within a matter of weeks, new plants must be built before 2020, leaving a support cliff-edge on 1st January 2020. Combined with no long-term future for the Feed-in Tariff, no floor price for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, and forthcoming higher costs in the form of Environment Agency charges and business rates, it’s clear that AD still faces a very challenging future in the short term.

It would be imprudent to assume, however, that we can rely on greater government support in the medium to long term, notwithstanding the obvious need for AD to help it meet a range of targets. To make ourselves independent from government, we urgently need to innovate to bring down costs and put ourselves on a glide path to becoming a zero-subsidy technology, and the ADBA R&I Forum 2018 on 11th April will give some indication of how this can be done. The AD Certification Scheme, already with its first plant certified, is another key tool to improving AD plant performance and raising the industry’s reputation amongst politicians, policymakers, investors, and the public. At this time of short-term pain but long-term opportunity for AD, it’s more important than ever for us to talk about the many ways in which the industry is constantly innovating and improving, and how this delivers concrete benefits to the UK economy. As Lord Deben rightly suggested, the manner in which we do this talking may determine the future success of AD in the UK – so let’s make sure we get it right.

AD to feature at Parliamentary energy showcase At the time of writing, ADBA and three of our members were set to showcase the UK AD industry at a display of green energy technology in Parliament on 5th March. Hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy, the event sees parliamentarians invited to meet those involved in the renewables sector in an informal setting.

Strategy (see Policy, p32-33). These include a commitment to biomethane post-2021, ending biodegradable waste from entering landfill, and support for reducing agricultural emissions. For more information on this event, contact

This is an important opportunity for us to continue calling on government to increase support for AD and address the policy gaps that we and the Committee on Climate Change have identified in the Clean Growth


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018


AD – A Scottish perspective Our Chief Executive Charlotte Morton and Environment & Regulation Manager Jess Allan recently headed to Edinburgh for a packed day of meetings with contacts in the Scottish AD sector. Their first engagement was with NFU Scotland, who are on the steering group for the AD Certification Scheme (ADCS). Topics of discussion included the scheme’s launch, and benefits and issues relating to the spreading of digestate by contractors. It was agreed that more work should be done to improve standards to ensure that the end customers of digestate – farmers – remain supportive of the AD industry. Charlotte and Jess’s next appointment was with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), who have also been involved in the development of the ADCS. Plans were made to help spread the word about the scheme, partly through a workshop for operators, and the group also gained a better understanding of how the Scottish

AD industry is faring in relation to stricter limits on the amount of plastics allowed in digestate. Finally, Charlotte and Jess met with renewable energy consultants and ADBA member The Greenspan Agency to discuss a wide range of topics and get into the detail of real issues facing the AD sector in Scotland. All of the discussions formed a useful precursor to the ADBA Scottish National Conference 2018, which took place at the end of February and explored how AD can be adapted to meet Scotland’s needs across decarbonisation, energy generation, recycling, and farming. For more information on AD in Scotland, contact

ADBA hits the small screen Our Policy Manager Thom Koller recently spoke at a farming event hosted by crop breeder and ADBA member KWS UK. The event was covered by Farming Sunday, a half-hour TV magazine programme for farmers and agribusiness, broadcast on Sky Digital channel 253 and attracting around 50,000 viewers. Thom was interviewed as part of the programme, and spoke about how AD can support farmers in terms of income diversification, soil health, and reducing energy costs. See Thom’s segment here: For more information on how AD can support farming, contact

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News



Reducing ammonia and methane emissions Our Environment & Regulation Manager Jess Allan has been out and about discussing how to reduce ammonia and methane emissions from AD and digestate-related activities. Defra has indicated that approximately eight per cent of all ammonia emissions come from AD and composting, principally from the storage and spreading of digestate. As the number of AD plants has risen in recent years, so has the quantity of digestate produced and spread, and also the proportion of emissions arising from AD. IEA Bioenergy has recently published a report on methane emissions from biogas applications, a topic of increasing interest to policymakers due to methane’s potency to react into a greenhouse gas. While the core processes in AD plants are the same, many have different configurations and use different technologies, meaning it is currently difficult to draw conclusions about the level of methane leakage at AD plants. The new AD Certification Scheme includes a number of relevant criteria which will help drive and recognise good practice in preventing ammonia and methane emissions. And in further recognition of the need for good practice in these areas, this year’s AD & Biogas Industry Awards will also feature the new category of ‘Best Methane or Ammonia Emissions Management Project’, which is open to both UK and international operators – to enter, go to or see p27.

Get involved We are keen to hear from AD operators with examples of good practice in preventing ammonia and methane emissions that could form a useful case study. If you think this could be you, contact

For more information on emissions from AD, contact

ADBA contributes to CCC’s call for evidence We have contributed to the Committee on Climate Change’s call for evidence for its forthcoming report on bioenergy, which will review work undertaken in 2011 into the potential role of bioenergy in meeting UK Carbon Budgets through to 2050. The report will focus on the sustainability of bioenergy, lifecycle emissions, resource availability, and best use of bioenergy across the economy.


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Our response welcomes the review and sets out the role that AD can play in meeting UK Carbon Budgets, generating renewable heat and transport fuel, and providing energy security. The review is due to be published in the autumn. To see our response, go to: For more information on the review, contact

Best Practice Matters Join Granville Ecopark and get ADCS-certified There have been two major milestones since my last column – the official launch of the AD Certification Scheme (ADCS) and the first certification of an operator under the scheme. It was really encouraging to see Granville Ecopark gain certification within six weeks of the scheme being opened and we hope to see many more applications in the coming months. This column gives me an opportunity to thank all those who were involved in the scheme’s launch, including our speakers at the launch session at the ADBA National Conference 2017: Goals PME’s Dr Amaya Arias-Garcia (steering group chair); Nick Johnn (Aardvark Certification Ltd); Judy Proctor (Environment Agency); Carl Gurney (Jelf Insurance Brokers); and Susan Relf (Agrivert). Together, they explained why the ADCS is so important and how it can benefit those who get involved – it was great to hear their perspectives. Thanks also to those who attended the session and contributed to an interesting discussion. It is clear that by working together, we can use the scheme to drive improvements in performance and showcase AD operators’ commitment to doing things right. To ensure that certified operators gain maximum benefit, we have met with the Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency in recent months. This allowed us to put

For information and advice on any areas relating to AD best practice, contact our Environment and Regulation Manager, Jess Allan T +44 (0)203 735 8380 E @JessicaAllan2 forward the case for regulators to take a lighter touch approach to those operators who have gained ADCS accreditation (for example, by reducing inspection frequency and subsistence fees). To achieve this, we will be monitoring the effectiveness of the scheme to understand and demonstrate the impact it is making. But to make a strong case, we need lots of operators to sign up – we look forward to seeing which will be the next plant to get certified. See feature, Good practice, p10

Sign up today We hope that operators will visit the dedicated ADCS website (, download the brochure, review the scheme criteria, and ultimately apply to be certified. ADBA members can save up to 25 per cent on the scheme application fees if they sign up before the end of June 2018. If you have any questions about how the process works, please contact our appointed certification body, Aardvark Certification:

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Devolved Administrations AD features in Scotland’s first Energy Strategy

Sustainability award win for Xergi’s NI plant

Biogas and biomethane have been mentioned in Scotland’s first ever Energy Strategy, published by the Scottish Government at the end of 2017. The Strategy sets a new target for at least 50 per cent of all Scotland’s heat, transport, and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030 and also targets a 30 per cent increase in energy productivity across the economy. The Strategy notes that biogas and biomethane will have a role to play in helping to decarbonise Scotland’s energy system, and says the following about biomethane: ‘There are currently 13 biomethane sites in Scotland connected to the gas distribution network – producing enough gas to supply the equivalent of 85,000 homes – and there are more sites in development. This could make an important contribution to reducing heat emissions, while having little impact on the way consumers use their appliances. It could also provide a useful role in electricity grid management, energy storage and the transport sector.’

A 3 MW biogas plant built by Xergi has been recognised at the Sustainable Ireland Awards, triumphing in the Best Energy Generation category. Located in Tully Quarry, Northern Ireland, close to the town of Ballymena, the plant produces biogas from 100 per cent chicken litter. As the high nitrogen levels in chicken litter inhibit the bacteria that produce biogas, this has been a challenging and unique project which led Xergi to develop the NiX® technology. Not only does this reduce the nitrogen content in the biogas process, it increases energy production and enables the nitrogen to be used as a biofertiliser. “Right now, the plant is producing biogas that is used to produce electricity in a gas engine power plant. The biogas production and thus the electricity production will gradually be increased as the microbial culture develops in the coming weeks. We will then start to remove nitrogen from the biomass as we put the NiX® plant into operation,” explains Xergi CEO Jørgen Ballermann.

The Scottish Government also revealed £80m of new investment in the energy sector – £60m for low carbon innovation and £20m for energy investment – and confirmed plans for a publicly owned energy company. It also promised to publish an Annual Energy Statement, setting out the country’s latest energy statistics, its progress against targets and key priorities, and an up-to-date assessment of how technological advances will impact the planned changes to the energy system.


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Operator & Working Groups Working together to enhance operator training At the end of 2017, we held meetings of our Training, Safety and Environment (TSE) Working Group and our Food Waste Operator Group (FWOG). These groups are an excellent source of knowledge and discussion, and both meetings covered a wide variety of topics, from feedstock quality and availability to odour management.

Many thanks to WRAP for hosting the FWOG meeting and to Malaby Biogas for hosting the TSE Group. Both meetings were particularly well-attended, with representatives from the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive present at the meeting of the TSE Group. Over the course of both meetings, it became clear that there are opportunities for more collaborative working between the two groups, particularly regarding the issue of operator training. We aim to focus on this as a key priority over the next year, as it has been made clear that skills, training and competence are high on the agenda for many of our members, as well as the regulators. We also intend to reach out to other organisations who work in this area to ensure that there is a joined-up approach and that we are not reinventing the wheel. It was clear from these meetings that there is an appetite for more practical training. And with the industry now focussing on improving quality and standards, there is a growing demand for skilled and highly-trained staff. Moving forward, we will review the existing provisions, identify any gaps and consider the best solutions.

Get involved To share your thoughts on operator training, or to attend the next TSE Group meeting on 15th March in Leamington Spa, contact

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Good practice

Reducing risk through good practice


t has been a tough few years for the UK AD industry. With developers and operators already facing dwindling government subsidies and restricted access to finance, the situation has been compounded by regulators and the media picking up on a succession of environmental and safety incidents – the most recent of which was an explosion at a Nottingham food waste plant, which left two employees seriously injured. Despite the fact that the vast majority of plants in the UK are safe and well-run, for what is a relatively small sector there is now a worrying perception of risk around the UK AD industry.

Read all about it

While the most serious repercussion of any incident is of course the impact on the people affected, followed by the environmental damage caused, the resulting negative press reports are detrimental to the entire AD industry. It can be hard to shake off headlines such as: ‘Explosion injures two at biogas plant’; or ‘Anaerobic digestion operator prosecuted over toxic gas death.’ “Any journalist will tell you that bad news sells more papers than good news, which means that on the very rare occasion that there is an incident at an AD plant, it’s much more likely to grab headlines than a plant functioning safely and normally,” says ADBA’s PR & Parliamentary Affairs Executive Chris Noyce. “From a public and media relations point of view, avoiding such incidents and the damaging headlines that accompany them is vital to ensuring that the AD industry enjoys a strong reputation, which in turn will increase the likelihood of support from government and investors.” 10

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

This is an important point as, following a spate of incidents over the past few years, there have been real concerns over whether the industry can continue to attract investment and insurance. “The current market conditions are not favourable: we’ve seen insurers pull out of the market, we’ve seen rates increase and we are now seeing some very onerous terms, Carl Gurney conditions and exclusions being implemented on policies,” from Jelf explains Carl Gurney, Renewable Energy Director of insurance broker Jelf. “That puts us in the dangerous position of ending up with a ‘take it or leave it’ insurance policy for AD operators, which is not where we want this industry to be. Neither is it where it deserves to be, given the effort and innovation that has taken place over the last two years.” Similarly, investors – particularly those with a more cautious approach, such as pension funders – have been unwilling to put money into an industry which has a higher perceived level of risk than alternative investments.

A lack of understanding

While it’s clear that there has been a growing negative perception of AD in some quarters, just how justified is the industry’s reputation? “Going back to 2014-15, we had a very high rate of incidents (in the AD sector), so we started to work with operators to review their environmental management systems, to understand just how they were managing their risks,” pointed out Judy Proctor of the Environment Agency at the ADBA National Conference 2017.

Good practice Incidents and Poorly Performing Sites

Judy Proctor of the Environment Agency

In fact, the three-year average (2013-2015) of serious pollutions incidents within the biowaste treatment sector, which includes AD, was 39. This equates to six incidents for every 100 permits, meaning that the biowaste treatment sector caused the most incidents compared with its overall size. “This approach appears to be working as the situation is improving, with a reduced number of incidents in both 2016 and 2017 at permitted AD facilities,” added Judy. “In contrast, operator performance at these sites has declined over the last two years and we are actively seeking to bring these facilities back in to compliance with their permit. Furthermore, the number of incidents at crop-fed facilities continues to increase. When things fail there is a very big impact, which is not only of concern to us as a regulator, but also to local communities and the environment.” So, what’s behind the AD industry’s less than perfect safety record? One theory is the speed at which the sector has grown, combined with the fact that plant developers and operators often come from industries outside of waste management and energy production, such as farming and food. No-one sets out to be a bad operator, but a lack of understanding of just what’s involved in running an AD plant – which is a 24-hour, seven days a week operation – can lead to incidents further down the line. “The operators I have met have good intentions,” says David Woolgar of David Woolgar Consulting. “They want to be good, safe operators – and to be seen as good, safe operators – however, their background may mean that they’ve not been exposed to the kinds of health and safety issues seen in AD operations and do not have the knowledge to develop good operational practices,” he points out. “I am concerned that a number of operators do not understand their ongoing legal responsibilities for gas safety on their plants, such as the need for a risk assessment under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR); the implications of Hazardous Zones; and the maintenance of appropriate safe equipment in those zones.”

While the number of incidents at AD facilities has gone down, operator performance has worsened

The ADCS was formally launched by ADBA’s Chief Executive Charlotte Morton at the ADBA National Conference 2017. “We might just be turning a corner in terms of the UK government recognising how important the AD industry is,” said Charlotte. “But it’s important that we give policymakers and investors confidence in the integrity of our industry. The AD Certification Scheme is an industry initiative designed to promote high standards of performance, health and safety, and environmental protection. Not only will it reduce risk and costs for operators, but it has also received strong support from regulators, insurers and financiers.” The scheme was developed through consultation with a steering group made up of representatives from across the biogas industry, including insurers, regulators, trade associations, investors, developers and operators. ADBA’s Environment and Regulation Manager Jess Allan has managed the development of the scheme over the last two years and has worked hard to ensure that any feedback has been listened to. “When we began in 2015 it was clear that stakeholders wanted us to cover a wide range of topics,” she explains. “As a result, the ADCS is the only certification scheme in the UK which assesses the all-round performance of AD plants – it covers health and safety, environmental protection, and operational performance, offering a one-stop audit process for operators. It forces a holistic approach to managing an AD plant, covering areas such as risk assessment, compliance, record keeping, training, maintenance, and monitoring plant performance.”

Easy application

Any operator of an AD plant (except those in the sewage treatment sector) is eligible to apply for their plant to be certified to the ADCS, regardless of size and whether or not they are an ADBA member – although members can save 25 per cent if they sign up to the scheme before the end of June 2018. Continued>>

Industry takes the lead

Addressing these health and safety issues, both real and perceived, has been one of the driving forces behind the development of ADBA’s AD Certification Scheme (ADCS). Aimed at promoting and recognising good practice, it is a key element of ADBA’s Best Practice Programme, which is tasked with raising standards in the industry. The scheme provides an independent audit process and report, enabling operators to ensure they are meeting required standards and identify how they can improve.

Tasked with raising standards across the UK AD industry, the AD Certification Scheme was formally launched at the ADBA National Conference 2017

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Good practice The ADCS is independently audited by Aardvark Certification and interested parties are encouraged to visit the dedicated ADCS website ( and read through the scheme documentation. Once happy that they are in a position to be able to provide the required evidence pack, operators can apply through Aardvark Certification’s website (, to then begin the registration and auditing process. The audit will result in one of three outcomes: a pass; some minor non-conformities which need to be corrected before a certificate is issued; or a fail, although it is expected that most issues will be fixable. ADBA’s Jess Allan

Dr Amaya Arias-Garcia from Goals PME is the chair of the ADCS steering group and believes that the scheme will help operators better understand and manage their risks. “One of the issues for newcomers to the AD industry is how to find out what you don’t already know,” she states. “As a potential AD operator, you need to know where your risks are and what to do in order to safely develop and run an AD plant.” Before the scheme’s official launch, a pilot phase was introduced and proved a useful learning experience for all involved. “For the pilot, we audited three plants – an on-farm plant, a food waste plant, and an on-site plant for a food manufacturer – which really helped us to fine-tune the audit process,” comments Nick Johnn of Aardvark Certification. “From there we went back to the steering group for the final feedback session and further fine-tuned the criteria to ensure they met everyone’s needs.”

Reflecting a changing industry

While a great deal of effort has been put into designing the scheme, those behind it stress that it is intended to be ‘live’, evolving and updating as standards rise across the industry. “We will closely monitor the effectiveness of the ADCS by working with regulators and insurers to assess the level of claims and incidents, to see if we are making a difference and improving the industry’s performance,” says Jess Allan. This ongoing development is essential if key stakeholders such as insurers and investors are to see real value in the scheme. “The AD industry, like any maturing sector, needs to set benchmarks for its existing operators and new entrants alike to adhere and aspire to,” stresses Phil Gerrard of Privilege Finance, which specialises in providing finance for AD projects. “We’re very keen to see improvements in both environmental and health and safety risk management at AD facilities, and the ability to easily understand a plant’s level of risk and performance through an independent accreditation process is incredibly helpful. Clearly, this is just the beginning of a continuous challenge to position AD as ‘best in class’.” The ADCS will help on-farm AD operators meet high environmental, health and safety, and operational standards

Agrivert was one of three operators to take part in the pilot phase of the scheme

What’s in it for operators?


The ADCS may provide reassurance Susan Relf for potential investors, but why should existing plant operators sign up, particularly those with an unblemished safety record? Agrivert was one of the three operators which took part in the pilot phase of the scheme and for Compliance Director Susan Relf there are clear benefits. “It brought a level of consistency across all of our sites, which gave us a comfort factor that each was using the same processes,” she reveals. “Unlike some other audits which just ask if you have a certain thing in place – for example, training – the ADCS drills down into the detail and actually questions whether what you are doing is fit for purpose for an AD plant. It’s bespoke to the AD industry, and that’s a real, fundamental difference. I was struck by how professional the audit process was and the fact that the auditors really need an understanding of the AD process to be able to ask the questions they do.” As well as providing consistency across the industry, accreditation to the scheme will make operators aware of what can go wrong at their site, without the need to experience an incident first-hand. In addition, operating to high standards will optimise plant performance, leading to increased biogas yields, enhanced digestate quality and lower operational costs. Certification will also show other parties, such as regulators and neighbours, that as an AD operator you are serious about your wider obligations to the environment and local community. As the scheme brochure points out, “Operators must be responsible neighbours, taking into account the needs and sensitivities of the communities near to their location.” Becoming certified is a great way to do this and may help operators with planning applications further down the line. Furthermore, with staff retention becoming more of an issue for plant operators, membership of the ADCS may also provide a point of difference which shows how committed to career development a company is.

Insurance savings

Another of the scheme’s key benefits for operators is access to improved insurance deals. “Aardvark’s independent survey, carried out as part of the accreditation process, really helps insurers in terms of cutting both time and costs, as all the information required to write the policy should be there and has been verified,” explains Jelf’s Carl Gurney. ADBA has appointed Jelf Group as its risk management and insurance partner, following the company’s development of a bespoke insurance product offering AD operators additional cover for specific risks. Insurance policies for accredited operators will be written by leading insurers Allianz or Chubb, and for complex schemes, both companies may jointly underwrite the policy. AD operators certified under the ADCS will benefit from an improved rating, plant-specific policy extensions and only 90 per cent of the premium due on inception of the policy. The remaining 10 per cent will only fall due in the event of a claim. Continued>>

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Good practice “Looking further ahead, our systems are set up to ring-fence any plants that are ADCS-certified and insured by us, so we can monitor their performance; keep track of any claims; ensure that the facility remains profitable for our insurer partners to ensure we keep premiums competitive and stable for our clients; and track and benchmark premiums,” adds Carl. “It also means that if claims are submitted, we can identify any trends and use that information to help others, to mitigate risks.” However, Carl is keen to add that failure to achieve certification does not mean that plants will become uninsurable: “An operator may not achieve full certification, or meet every set criteria, but that doesn’t mean that the plant will be uninsurable. All we ask is that such operators give us as much information as possible and sufficient time to arrange insurance terms with our insurer partners.”

Providing reassurance to regulators and funders

The benefits of the ADCS for operators and insurers are clear, but what about other industry stakeholders? For Ceri Beynon of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it provides reassurance that the AD industry is taking ownership of its responsibilities: “It is encouraging to see the AD industry taking safety seriously, and showing the necessary leadership to ensure risk is well managed in this sector. As a regulator, our role is to ensure that businesses manage the risks across their sites and operations. Therefore, a site that has achieved certification should be well placed to demonstrate and explain its health and safety management arrangements.”

The ADCS should also provide a level of reassurance to investors. While most will have some understanding of the risks involved in AD, some may just see it as a quick way to make money and will not have fully investigated the experience required to run an AD plant Granville Ecopark has become the first or the risks involved. It is hoped that the ADCS will be plant accredited under the ADCS seen by the funding community as a good signalling method that an operator has the necessary experience to successfully run an AD plant. The scheme has also been welcomed by the farming community. “The ADCS is an important tool in helping operators of on-farm AD plants meet high environmental, health and safety, and operational standards,” says Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser on Renewable Energy and Climate Change at the National Farmers’ Union. “It has been great to see a wide variety of stakeholders coming together to develop voluntary accreditation of


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Good practice good practice, helping raise confidence and drive better performance in what is an important industry for British farmers. Voluntary best practice guidelines can also help address issues such as control of ammonia emissions from landspreading, by promoting the use of low-emission digestate spreading equipment such as dribble bars, trailing shoe applicators and injectors.”

Blazing a trail

Thanks to wide engagement at events, through publications such as this, and via the ADBA website, ADBA members should be familiar with the ADCS. However, there is still a need to get the message across to others in the industry. “There are two challenges,” believes David Woolgar. “One is to communicate with those operators who are not engaged with the industry through trade associations or interest groups; the other is to encourage those operators who are aware of the scheme that it is beneficial for them to become accredited. Both groups need to understand the tangible benefits.” It is hoped that this will be boosted by the announcement that Granville Ecopark, a 4.8 MWe food waste facility in Northern Ireland, has become the first AD plant in the UK to achieve certification under the ADCS. “We are delighted to be the first UK AD plant certified under this new scheme,” says Technical Director David McKee. “It gives us confidence that we are attaining the highest standards within the industry and will drive us forward to remain at the top. We hope that others will now follow in our footsteps and apply for certification, to help boost their environmental credentials and further highlight how important the AD industry is for the future of renewable energy throughout the UK.” “To have the first plant certified just six weeks after the scheme was launched is encouraging and shows the support within the AD industry for raising its performance across the board and recognising good practice,” adds Charlotte Morton. “We will continue to speak to AD operators about the many benefits of the ADCS, both for operators themselves and for the wider industry, including increased support from politicians, regulators, insurers and investors.” With such a positive start, it’s clear that the AD Certification Scheme has the potential to usher in a new era of good practice for the UK AD industry. The operators of Granville Ecopark look set to be the first of many to enjoy the benefits of accreditation.

How to certify your plant Any operator of an AD plant is eligible to apply for their plant to be certified under the AD Certification Scheme, regardless of size, with the exception of those in the sewage treatment sector. ADBA members can save up to 25 per cent on the scheme application fees if they sign up before the end of June 2018. Before applying, please read the Scheme Rules and Scheme Criteria, available from: Then, download the application form: Full application details can be found at:

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading

How to select the right upgrading technology for your plant By Juergen Kube, Head of Technology for Future Biogas, which operates eight AD plants, six with biogas upgraders. “There are several solutions available for upgrading biogas to biomethane. Selecting the best technology for a site depends not only on hard factors that can be measured and compared, such as guaranteed energy uptake, product quality and recovery, but also on soft factors such as raw gas impurities (arising from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), H2, siloxanes, inert gases, etc), visual impact and CO2 recovery. The first commercial biogas upgraders in Europe were water scrubbers. They remove water-soluble gases (CO2, H2S and NH3) from the raw biogas and are robust against impurities. While this type of process has matured over time and enjoys excellent bankability – investors are more likely to finance such projects because of the technology’s reliability – its optimisation potential is not high. Occasionally, water scrubbers suffer from biological growth within their columns, and project developers should consider the water demand and wastewater production of the unit.

Pressure-swing adsorption (PSA), on the other hand, has a small footprint. Early PSA units had a high methane slip but recent developments have reduced this. PSA also shows a great robustness against impurities in biogas. Membrane upgraders use gas permeation to separate CO2, O2 and H2 from CH4 and N2. Modern units use a multi-stage process 16

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

© Puregas

Chemical scrubbers use absorber liquids such as glycol ethers or amines which show a much greater selectivity towards CO2/CH4 separation and better loading capacity than water. This allows smaller liquid recycle streams and lower pressures in the adsorption column, leading to a lower electric energy demand compared to water scrubbers. In fact, low pressure amine scrubbers use very little electric energy, relying instead on heat at 140°C to regenerate the scrubber fluid. On the downside, although chemical scrubbers do not need a daily top-up of absorber liquid, contamination and subsequent replacing of the fluid can be costly. In addition, all scrubber processes have a visual impact as they require two or three large columns.

with recirculation of methane-rich waste streams. Almost all suppliers have reinforced the condensate and oil-removal abilities of compressors after learning lessons from early projects. Membrane units have a small footprint and low maintenance requirements. However, they are vulnerable to impurities in biogas, especially from VOCs. Membranes can be combined with cryogenic recovery of liquid CO2, which can reduce the methane slip to zero, but attention needs to be paid to the accumulation of inert gases in the digester, especially H2. One of

the advantages of membrane upgraders is that future research in membrane material is likely to improve performance. While some upgrading technologies allow wet biogas and H2S at the inlet of the unit, all technologies benefit from dry, sulphur-free, and pre-pressurised biogas at the interface. Finally, in light of falling tariffs, developers will no doubt welcome any reductions in capex and opex as a result of further developments to upgrading technologies.”

Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading in the market following Poundbury that it inspired nothing short of a green gas revolution; in just five years, biomethane plants across the UK have generated enough green gas to heat a city the size of Sheffield.

Evonik’s SEPURAN Green membrane technology has been installed at 140 biogas sites worldwide

Optimising the upgrading process

As evidenced by the recent increase in the number of biomethane plants in operation, upgrading biogas to biomethane has become more and more popular. Traditionally, biogas was used to generate electrical power via a CHP engine but lately, developers have become attracted to biomethane’s flexibility: it can be used as natural gas replacement; as a transport fuel; as a heat source in chemical processes; and it can be injected, transported and stored until needed in gas pipelines. Alongside its flexibility, another reason behind the recent momentum in biogas upgrading is the development of better and more efficient upgrading technologies. In 2011, Evonik launched its SEPURAN® Green hollow fibre membrane technology, which has since been successfully installed at more than 140 biogas plants worldwide. Its modular set-up means it is equally suited to small, medium and large-scale facilities – current commercial installations range from 15 Nm³/h to 6,250 Nm³/h.

In addition, Evonik has acquired its own process patent for a three-stage membrane system that delivers high methane yields with a minimum of electrical power consumption. On purchasing a SEPURAN® Green system, Evonik’s contract partners – largely plant builders – also receive a license to use this three-stage separation process. In turn, when a developer buys an AD plant with SEPURAN® Green membrane technology that has been constructed by one of Evonik’s contract partners, the plant can be operated using the patented process.

The green gas revolution

It has been five years since HRH The Prince of Wales officially opened the UK’s first commercial biomethane-to-grid plant at Poundbury, Dorset, back in November 2012. Such was the confidence

“Two key factors help SEPURAN® Green to stand out in the upgrading marketplace: membrane selectivity and capacity,” states Volker Wehber, Director at Evonik. “While high levels of selectivity are critical for optimising operational costs, capacity is crucial for assessing the overall investment.” To this end, Evonik has recently launched the new 6” SEPURAN® Green, with more than three times the capacity of the first model. Ultimately, what this means to AD developers and operators is that fewer membranes and less investment are needed to upgrade the same amount of gas.

The membrane upgrading technology for the 650 m3/hr Poundbury project was supplied by DMT Environmental Technology and it has since been installed at a further 10 biomethane plants across the country, generating over 11,500 m3/hr of biomethane in 2017. DMT’s portfolio also includes the multi-award-winning biomethane plant at Somerset cheese producer Wyke Farms. After becoming self-sufficient in energy thanks to an on-site biogas plant, the company installed a DMT upgrading unit in 2015 and is now also producing home-grown green gas. DMT Environmental Technology has now been prompted to take its UK offering to the next level by the pace of activity in the UK biomethane sector. With increased RHI tariffs and guarantees about to be rubber-stamped in Parliament, the company has confidence in the strength of the market and has invested in a dedicated UK office comprising a sales force and service team. The office is headed up by newly-appointed UK Business Director Stephen McCulloch, who has led work on numerous UK gas-to-grid projects throughout his career. “As well as expanding the UK market, we will be increasing the scope of our supply, including offering finance options,” says Stephen. “In addition, we have fine-tuned our offering and are issuing a five-year equipment guarantee on our Carborex MS technology. With this new, improved strategy we look forward to helping to take the already thriving UK biomethane sector to the next level.” Continued>>

DMT’s upgrading equipment is in use at Wyke Farms

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading levels for a measure of even smaller particles, known as PM2.5. Such is the government’s concern about air pollution that the sale of all new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned by 2040, potentially paving the way for sustainable, healthier alternatives such as biomethane. But should we be acting sooner?

Future Biogas’ Spridlington plant injects around 500 Sm³/h of biomethane into the grid

Turning Europe’s roads green

One biomethane application which has yet to be fully exploited, however, is as a transport fuel. Historically, diesel vehicles have been extremely popular in Europe, in part because they produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles. But in 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reclassified


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

“The headline-grabbing move to ban diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 is great, but way too distant to tackle the air quality crisis that is affecting us now – especially as there’s a very clean and cost-effective solution readily available today,” believes Steven Scott, Sales Manager, UK and Ireland, for Puregas. “As a transport fuel, biomethane has 70 per cent less carbon impact than petrol or diesel and, most importantly, it contains zero harmful particulate emissions. What’s more, switching to biomethane is easy, requiring no additional capital investment for LNG-ready fleets.” diesel pollution as a ‘definite carcinogen’ that can cause lung cancer and breathing difficulties. Furthermore, last year, a WHO report found that 10 towns and cities in the UK, including London, Glasgow, Leeds and Nottingham, had breached safe levels of tiny carcinogen particles known as PM10. 39 urban areas also breached the safe

In fact, increased demand for LNG as a vehicle fuel – thanks to the European Blue Corridors Project’s aim to establish it as a real alternative for medium and long-distance transport, first as a complementary fuel, and later as a substitute for diesel – is opening up new

Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading opportunities for biogas. Rather than liquefying natural gas from the grid, there’s a strong economic and environmental argument for the use of biomethane, or a blend of natural gas and biomethane, to satisfy this new demand. Depending on customer requirements, the ratio can be adjusted to make the blended product competitive while still reducing carbon impact. Rather than waiting until 2040, some early adopters are already reaping the benefits of switching from petrol and diesel to biomethane. Puregas’ first bio-LNG facility, installed at the Skogn paper mill in Norway, is now fully operational. The plant, which upgrades up to 3,000 Nm3/h of raw biogas, is the largest biogas liquefaction plant in Europe and produces fuel for public transport vehicles. “Our unique process is ideally suited to liquefaction projects as we’re able to reduce the CO2 content of the biomethane to below 50 ppm, making liquefaction possible,” says Sven Fischer, Key Account Manager, Bio-LNG. “We are extremely proud to be involved in this project.”

Puregas’ first bio-LNG facility is at the Skogn paper mill in Norway

Future Biogas’ Juergen Kube will be speaking at the upcoming ADBA R&I Forum 2018, 11th April, University of Sheffield. To find out more or register your attendance, see p35 or go to

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Government & Agency News EU pledges €9bn for action on climate change The European Commission has pledged €9bn of funding for action on climate change in a bid to help achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The funds, which were announced at the One Planet Summit in Paris in December, will be focussed on sustainable cities, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. The EU and its member states are the world’s biggest providers of climate finance, providing more than €20bn to developing countries last year.

First FWRAP bulletin launched The first Food Waste Recycling Action Plan (FWRAP) bulletin is now available online, providing updates on progress against the plan, new tools and guidance, opportunities to get involved, and the first FWRAP Annual Report. FWRAP, led by a cross-industry steering group and supported by WRAP, is working to increase and improve the quantity and quality of unavoidable food waste captured for recycling in England.

Courtauld 2025 – First year review On the first anniversary of the voluntary agreement for the food and drink sector, WRAP has revealed the names of 24 new signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 2025. ABP Food Group, Accor Hotels UK & Ireland, The Federation of Bakers, Hovis, ISS UK and the Welsh Local Government Association join 156 organisations working collaboratively through Courtauld 2025 to cut by one fifth in 10 years the resources needed to provide the UK’s food and drink. WRAP has published a review which covers the first 12 months of Courtauld 2025, outlining how it has collaborated with partners to set the groundwork for forthcoming activities, and detailing the key outputs already launched. Steve Creed, Director of Business Programmes at WRAP, explains: “In just one year, for example, we’ve set up 10 working groups covering a range of key issues from tackling the largest food waste categories to driving consumer behavioural change. This review gives me confidence for what will follow, but we need industry to focus now on building on these foundations.” To find out how Courtauld 2025’s holistic approach from farm to fork is already delivering change, go to

Waste in Westminster Our External Affairs Manager, Jon Harrison, reports on the latest waste news from Parliament

Opportunity knocks as Tories go green It has been a busy few months in Westminster. Despite losing her majority in last year’s General Election, there is a sense that Theresa May’s government has stabilised, and is trying to focus its policy agenda on domestic issues as an alternative to the ever-present Brexit process. Since Michael Gove was appointed as Environment Secretary, the government has been making a major push to position itself as the ‘green’ party. This is partly political – last June, the Conservatives went backwards amongst young voters, who see green issues as of paramount importance when choosing their vote. However, Gove has shown himself to be an unexpectedly passionate advocate for his brief, pleasantly surprising some sector voices suspicious about his role in Brexit. The publication of the Clean Growth Strategy and 25 Year Plan for Nature have outlined ambitions for the government to increase the use of renewable energy, cut waste and protect the environment. The Clean Growth Strategy contains positive news on tackling food waste, with a target for ending food waste to landfill by 2030 – albeit without a commitment for legislation. The Strategy acknowledges the effectiveness of separate local authority food waste collections and commitments to work to support more. This could be outlined in more detail in a forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy, which highlights ‘end of life’ management of resources and materials with a focus on environmental impacts. Also, a specific action in the Strategy promises to reform the RHI to focus on long-term decarbonisation through greater uptake of technologies such as heat pumps and biogas-to-grid biomethane. In its analysis of the Strategy, the Committee on Climate Change has welcomed the government’s ‘strong’ commitments, but warned that firm policy proposals still need to be made – even with these plans there are gaps in the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets, and greater take-up of AD is critical in filling these gaps. The 25 Year Plan for Nature, while majoring on plastics reduction, also had a welcome focus on improving soil health. The plan proposes for all of England’s soils to be managed sustainably by 2030, and states the intention for ‘natural capital thinking’ to develop appropriate soil metrics and management approaches. Positively for AD and the digestate it can produce, Defra intends to work with industry to encourage the use of low carbon fertiliser, and is reviewing the levels of uptake using data from the British Fertiliser Practice Survey. So, positive steps as we enter 2018, but there is a need for clarity and tangible policy proposals from government in order to progress the laudable aims of these documents. Therefore, ADBA will be engaging closely with government, in particular on the issues of soil health, progressing the RHI regulations and how AD can help meet their carbon cutting commitments. Please let us know your thoughts on these policies by contacting

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


ADBA National Conference 2017 Review

Optimising the AD industry


With thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors

Platinum Sponsor

s ADBA’s Chief Executive Charlotte Morton acknowledged in her opening address, the past few years have been tough for the UK’s AD industry. The removal of some of the key support mechanisms, a general lack of long-term policy, and uncertainty brought about by Brexit have caused a slowdown in the number of new plants coming on stream and nervousness among operators and funders alike. But at the ADBA National Conference 2017, held in Westminster on 7th December, there was a definite sense that the tide is beginning to turn in our favour, with AD offering a solution to some of the government’s key issues such as climate change; decarbonising heat, agriculture and transport; reducing food waste; and improving soil health. Addressing the 200-strong crowd, Charlotte rightly celebrated the huge contribution that AD is making to the UK but reiterated the need for continued government support, stating: “AD is now powering

“An excellent event with a really good range of presentations and perspectives. It was encouraging to see that the industry is working hard in anticipation of the RHI tariff announcement in 2018. We also received some high quality enquires from exhibiting at the event.’’ Stephen McCulloch, UK Business Director, DMT Environmental Technology


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

over one million homes and reducing emissions from heat, electricity, transport and farming. Yet it could reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent, equivalent to taking all HGVs off the roads. But we need government support to achieve this, at least until R&I can remove the need for dependency. While the recent Industrial Strategy White Paper is a big step in the right direction, we need a firm commitment on the RHI and other forms of support if we are to move towards reaching this potential.”

Audience awaits RHI announcement

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) proved one of the major talking points of the day. It became clear that there are many projects waiting in the wings, ready to begin construction just as soon as the renewed tariffs come into force. This is expected imminently following the recent announcement that the regulations have been finally laid before Parliament. It was therefore no surprise that the keynote speech on the RHI by BEIS’ Dr Oliver Quast was one of the most anticipated sessions of the day. “BEIS remains committed to implementing the RHI reforms, including the tariff increases,” Dr Quast assured delegates. “I expect them to be laid early in 2018 and come into force 6-8 weeks later. Our Policy Team is confident of meeting this timetable, but this is of course not guaranteed,” he countered.

ADBA National Conference 2017 Review “A great opportunity for networking and the best place to learn what’s happening in the UK AD industry. The panel debate around on-farm AD post-Brexit was very insightful, and I particularly enjoyed the food waste collection session.” Justyna Dziewota-Jablonska, Managing Director, Symbiona UK

A good news story

While this news was welcomed by the industry, there was a stark reminder from The Rt Hon The Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, that there is still much to do to get AD higher up the government and public agenda. Although he described AD as ‘central to government policies’, he reminded delegates that ‘AD’s story needs to be told much more widely’. “It’s important for the industry to present itself in a way that the wider public can understand,” he urged the audience. “AD has been seen as complex and peripheral – we should be much better at explaining why it is central to what government and the public need. Climate change and soil health are two of the most important issues facing our country today and they are very high on the government’s agenda. We need to join the dots and explain how AD can help address these issues – we must give the government ready-made solutions.”

Raising standards

As well as better communication of the benefits that AD can bring, the Conference also served as a reminder that it is the responsibility of the entire industry to ensure that plants are being operated to the highest standards. Not only will this help to reduce the number of pollution and health and safety incidents being recorded, it will also optimise plant performance, leading to increased biogas yields, enhanced digestate quality and lower operational and insurance costs. In a bid to support operators to achieve this, and to give government, funders and the public alike confidence in the AD industry, the Conference saw the launch of ADBA’s highly-anticipated AD Certification Scheme (ADCS). The scheme includes detailed assessment criteria that will allow third-party certification bodies to verify the achievement of good practice at AD plants, and is the most comprehensive of its type. The pilot was completed in September 2017, with one on-farm plant, one food waste plant, and one on-site plant for a food manufacturer taking part.

The scheme has been welcomed by operators, investors, insurers and regulators, with Marie Fallon, Director of Regulated Industry at the Environment Agency, commenting: “We welcome the ADCS as a positive intervention by the industry to improve performance in the AD sector. We share the determination in reducing pollution incidents, which are a risk to the reputation of the industry.” Susan Relf, Compliance Director of AD operator Agrivert, added: “Our involvement in the pilot phase of the scheme was very useful in providing a check and reassurance that our plants are meeting consistent, high operational standards across the board. We support its aim to drive up operational, health and safety, and environmental standards across the UK AD industry.”

seeing the opportunities that Brexit can bring, not just the threats. “In a volatile and frenetic political climate, we need to remain calm and coolly state the case for the UK farming industry,” he urged.

In his keynote speech, Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra, also welcomed the ADCS and highlighted AD’s ability to recycle valuable nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. The Conference also featured a panel session on post-Brexit on-farm AD, where NFU Vice-President Guy Smith reminded the audience of the importance of staying positive and

The afternoon saw sessions on biomethane for injection into the gas grid, the role of AD in decarbonising transport, and the most effective food waste collection systems, during which speakers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales passed on their findings since implementing separate food waste collection systems in their local areas. “Now, every household in Wales has a separate food waste collection,” said Conwy Council’s Andrew Wilkinson. With England still lagging behind the devolved administrations in this regard, this was certainly food for thought.

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News

The future of farming and food waste


Plant Update

Better times ahead


n a challenging political climate, the UK AD industry has once again shown it has real staying power, recording a further year of growth. Latest figures show a total of 578 plants, with a capacity of 781 MWe-e. This is enough to power over one million homes – or a city over twice the size of Birmingham. While we expect fewer than 40 plants to have been built in 2017 (down from the 100 plants the industry was building back in 2014/15), the fact that ours is still a growth industry is something of which to be proud, considering the current lack of support and political uncertainty. Following the recent announcement that the RHI regulations have been finally laid before Parliament, industry insiders are expecting a flurry of activity within the biomethane sector just as soon as the regulations come into force. This will provide a welcome boost to developers, technology providers and equipment suppliers alike. RHI aside, there are further positive noises coming from government in the form of the Industrial Strategy, the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Clean Growth Strategy and the forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy, all of which provide opportunities for AD to take centre stage.





7 8

It’s therefore more important than ever that we show government, and potential investors, that ours is an industry which meets high standards in performance, health and safety, and environmental protection. The recently launched AD Certification Scheme will demonstrate our industry’s commitment to excellence and give confidence in AD, a sector that has the potential to help the government meet many of its commitments across food waste, soil health, energy security, farming and emissions reductions.


10 11 12 13 14 15

So watch this space. The plants listed below, which are set to come on stream during 2018, could be just the tip of the iceberg...


Location: Tornagrain, Inverness Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops, manure Output: 450 m3/hr Projected completion date: February 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018




Location: Aberdeenshire Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Energy crops Output: 450 m3/hr Projected completion date: July 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy


Location: Balmenach, Speyside Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Pot ale and other co-products Output: 250 kWe (CHP) Projected completion date: Autumn 2018 ADBA member involvement: Supplier Clearfleau Info supplied by: Clearfleau

Plant Update 4 STRACATHRO


Location: Benburb, Northern Ireland Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Cow slurry, grass silage, maize silage, broiler dung Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Summer 2018 ADBA member involvement: Plant builder Weltec Biopower Info supplied by: Weltec Biopower

Location: Colchester, Essex Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops Output: 350 m3/hr Projected completion date: February 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy



Location: Spondon, Derbyshire Current stage of development: Under construction Input: 50,000 tpa of food waste Output: TBC Projected completion date: Summer 2018 ADBA member involvement: Owner Severn Trent; design, build and commission by Jones Celtic BioEnergy Info supplied by: Severn Trent


Location: Bromham, Wiltshire Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops Output: 450 m3/hr Projected completion date: Spring 2018 ADBA member involvement: Funder Privilege Finance Info supplied by: Privilege Finance




Location: Near Aberdeen Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops Output: 450 m3/hr Projected completion date: March 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy

Location: Kirkcaldy Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops, manure Output: 450 m3/hr Projected completion date: June 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy


Location: Hawick, Scottish Borders Current stage of development: Design (planning granted) Input: Pot ale and other co-products Output: 400 kWe thermal (boiler) Projected completion date: Spring 2019 ADBA member involvement: Supplier Clearfleau Info supplied by: Clearfleau

Location: Towcester Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Energy crops Output: 360 m3/hr Projected completion date: March 2018 ADBA member involvement: Operator, developer, technology supplier Qila Energy Info supplied by: Qila Energy

Location: Wincanton Current stage of development: Initial design stage of construction Input: Agricultural feedstock including break crops, vegetable waste and FYM, plus food waste Output: 500 m3/hr Projected completion date: Q4 2018 ADBA member involvement: Developer/operator AcrEnergy Info supplied by: AcrEnergy




Location: Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland Current stage of development: Under construction Input: Pig slurry, grass silage, maize silage Output: 500 kW Projected completion date: Summer 2018 ADBA member involvement: Plant builder Weltec Biopower Info supplied by: Weltec Biopower

Location: Near Silsoe, Bedfordshire Current stage of development: Commissioning Input: Vegetable processing residues Output: 500 kWe (CHP) Projected completion date: Summer 2018 ADBA member involvement: Supplier Clearfleau Info supplied by: Clearfleau

Location: Willand, Devon Current stage of development: Operational Input: Energy crops, including maize, beet and silage Output: 3.8 MWe-e Projected completion date: July 2018 (Phase 1) ADBA member involvement: Funder Privilege Finance Info supplied by: Privilege Finance

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018 Preview

Does your AD business deserve the industry's highest accolade? Now in its seventh year, the AD & Biogas Industry Awards, organised by ADBA and supported by the World Biogas Association, recognises the businesses, teams and individuals making an exceptional contribution to AD both in the UK and abroad. With a revised set of categories for 2018, the Awards offer an unrivalled opportunity for those working across the AD industry to achieve recognition for their products, technologies, skills and innovations.

Last chance to enter

Does your business run the best AD plant in the UK? Are you a trailblazer in biomethane innovation? Do you know a rising star? Has your business achieved a major success that you want your peers to recognise? If you, your team or organisation, or a colleague deserves a major accolade for achievements in the AD and biogas sector, make sure to enter the AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018. But be quick – entries must be submitted by 28th March 2018.

the categories UK & International Awards • Best Food Waste Supply Chain Project • Best Process Optimisation in AD • Making the Most of Digestate • Making the Most of Biogas • AD Hero of the Year • AD Team of the Year • Best AD Support (Technical) • Best AD Support (Legal/Accounting/ Consulting) • Research Project Award • Best Innovation in Biomethane *NEW* • AD Rising Star *NEW* • Best Methane or Ammonia Emissions Management Project *NEW*

Sponsorship opportunities Raise your company’s profile at the most high-profile event in the AD calendar. To discuss sponsoring an awards category, or the ceremony itself, contact

Entry is free and you can enter more than one category, but all applications must relate to achievements or performance during the 12-month period February 2017 to February 2018. However, relevant material can be submitted for work or activity that took place prior to February 2017 and that has contributed to the results seen in the applicable period. Download the entry form today at

UK only Awards

International only Awards

• UK AD Plant Manager of the Year *NEW* • Best UK Food & Drink Industry AD Project • Best UK On-Farm AD Plant • Best UK Food Waste AD Plant

• Best International Agricultural Plant • Best International Food Waste Plant *NEW* • Best International Collaborative Project *NEW*

Tickets now on sale The AD & Biogas Industry Awards winners will be revealed at a glittering ceremony and gala dinner at the Vox Conference Centre, Birmingham on 11th July, the first night of the UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018. The black-tie ceremony will provide an enjoyable and prestigious environment to celebrate excellence in the sector and to network with several hundred industry leaders and influencers. The ceremony includes a pre-dinner drinks reception, three-course meal with wine, a renowned host and first-class comedy entertainment. Contact to book your place at this exceptional event. Individual tickets Non-member early bird:......................£210 Member early bird:...............................£186 Non-member:.........................................£246 Member:..................................................£222

Table of 10 tickets Non-member early bird:..................£1,914 Member early bird:...........................£1,680 Non-member:.....................................£2,262 Member:..............................................£2,034 Early bird prices valid until 13th April. All prices inc. VAT

Sponsored by

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 Preview

With thanks to our sponsors

Igniting biogas growth around the world Conference and seminar topics include • AD in farming • Food waste collections • Biomethane for transport • Circular economy • Heat • Education and communication • The impact of Brexit • Gas to grid • Carbon pricing • AD Certification Scheme

“One of the biggest renewables events in the world. A great opportunity to meet representatives from some of the most innovative companies, and to share knowledge and experience with the wider industry.” Gavin Dearsley, Alan Boswell Risk Management


of respondents rated the 2017 event as good to excellent 28

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018


naerobic digestion (AD) and biogas is a rapidly expanding sector, with the potential to become a £1 trillion global industry making a significant contribution to the development of a green, circular economy. AD plays a critical role in meeting nine of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, offering solutions to agriculture, urbanisation, waste and water management, transport and energy generation. As a result, we are living in a time of exceptional opportunity for the AD market to grow, both in the UK and globally. Featuring over 100 speakers and 250 exhibitors from around the world, the annual UK AD and World Biogas Expo is the largest international trade show solely dedicated to AD and biogas, showcasing the latest technologies and providing thought-leadership insights, innovation updates and opening up investment prospects for a global audience of around 3,000 delegates, including senior decision-makers, policymakers and influencers. The 2018 edition, organised by ADBA in partnership with the World Biogas Association, will take place at the NEC Birmingham, UK, on 11th and 12th July 2018. Key themes at this year’s event will be the opportunities presented by the implementation of separate food waste collection and management, the increasing use of biomethane for transport and heat, and on-farm AD as a new income stream in agriculture. AD and biogas has the potential to become a global game-changer in those areas. Under the banner ‘Igniting biogas growth around the world’, UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 will not only bring you the latest market and technology updates, but also advice, case studies and connections with key industry players and innovators. There’s never been a better time to grow your AD and biogas business, so make sure your company is at the forefront of this fast-developing industry by securing your place at the UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018. To book your exhibitor stand or register as a visitor, go to:

UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 Preview 3,000+ Attendees

250+ Exhibitors

100+ Speakers




Hours of content

“The seminars are invaluable for anyone working within the AD sector.” Phil Gerrard, Privilege Finance

Calling all speakers If you’ve got a novel approach to AD, a unique case study or a successful project, then we’d like to hear about it. To register your interest as a speaker and share your AD innovations with the international biogas community, contact

Book your stand Want to raise your company’s profile, rub shoulders with thousands of AD professionals and meet potential clients from across the world? Then join the hundreds of exhibitors already confirmed for the main AD event of the year. With many stands already booked, secure your exhibitor place today by contacting

Join our exhibitors • Air Liquide • Biogest Energie • Clarke Energy • DMT Environmental Technology • Evonik Industries AG • FM BioEnergy • GEN-C • HRS Heat Exchangers • Jacobi Carbons • Konrad Pumpe GmbH • Landia • Morris Lubricants • NRM • Omex Environmental • Pentair Haffmans BV • Roto Pumps • SEEPEX UK • Siemens • TT Pumps • Uniflare • Wolf Systembau • Xergi • And many more

“One of the most well-organised shows I’ve ever participated in. The content was strong and from a visual standpoint it was absolutely stunning.” Chris Voell, Global Methane Initiative and US Environmental Protection Agency

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Members’ News & Views Getting the AD industry pumped up about Industry 4.0 With the race towards Industry 4.0 on, progressive cavity (PC) pump specialist SEEPEX is assisting AD operators, particularly those starting from a ‘low tech’ baseline, to use smart pump technology to keep their AD plant connected and boost productivity.

er memb


“All processes in the AD industry, no matter how simple, can benefit from preparation for Industry 4.0,” states Lesley Eaton, Business Development and Marketing Manager for SEEPEX UK. “There’s a general misconception that enhanced connectivity and Industry 4.0 are for big operations with ultra-sophisticated data capture strategies. Yet, like most decisions in business, whatever the size of your AD plant, it’s about thinking smarter, selecting the right pumping equipment for the job and factoring in current and future demands.”

Sensors and sensibility

PC pumps are often used to handle delicate components that are difficult to work with due to high viscosity, the presence of soft solids or abrasiveness – for example, food waste, slurries or digestate. Using smart PC pumps with embedded technology can help to optimise processes even further, however. One example is using transducers as pressure or level controls which speed up and slow down the PC pump, varying the flow rate as required. Rather than using an on/off response when fill levels are reached, these pressure transducers send a variable signal to a PLC integrated to a variable speed drive, that will increase or slow the speed at which the product is delivered. This reduces the wear rate of the pump, extending the service life and lowering the total cost of ownership. Likewise, PC pumps fitted with sensing technology enable intelligent analysis of performance, pressure, flow rates and pump speed. Flow meters linked to variable frequency drives allow for real-time feedback and speed control of motors to achieve accurate product flow, as well as enabling predictive maintenance schedules. As pumps become digitally integrated into an AD operation, a Smart PC pumps keep plants properly selected connected and optimised PC pump can collect data to provide diagnostic tools for the entire system. For example, an unexpected pressure increase could signal a closed valve or pipework obstruction. And comparing theoretical flow vs actual flow can provide an early diagnosis of the condition of pipework and downstream equipment, enabling remedial action to be taken before issues occur.

The Smart Dosing Pump from SEEPEX provides real-time feedback

Knowledge is power

When selecting pump technology, it’s equally important to consider existing technology infrastructures and industrial control systems and how your new technology will integrate into common supervisory platforms, such as SCADA. The development of progressive cavity smart dosing pumps caters to this, maintaining accurate flow using continuous real-time feedback and adjustment. Input interfaces can be via a centralised system, a handheld HMI or via analogue and digital devices, which means that in addition to controlling the pump operation, data can be collected remotely and a picture of performance becomes clearer.

Connecting to untold opportunities

Even a simple pump becomes exponentially more valuable when connected. Data from one sensor can be combined with data from another and linked with cloud intelligence to make smarter, even autonomous, business decisions. Rather than just connecting for connectivity’s sake, many of today’s AD operators are seeing connected devices as a transformational opportunity. “The reality is that data connectivity and Industry 4.0 permeate every aspect of every business, large and small,” adds Lesley. “With scalable options, there’s the potential to revolutionise how we work and cut downtime by providing continuous feedback on performance.”

Future of Essex on-farm AD plant secured The future of a 1 MW on-farm AD plant in Essex has been secured following new investment. The purchase of Station Works AD in Thaxted was completed in November by AD funders Privilege Finance and business partner BioWatt, who will take over the operation of the plant with immediate effect. Phil Gerrard, CEO of Privilege Finance, explains: “We have a portfolio of on-farm AD plants and have been involved in over 20 successful such projects in the UK. We have a further 20 projects in progress and a track record of turning around previously underperforming plants, working alongside industry partners 30

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

such as BioWatt. Therefore, investment in Station Works AD was a relatively straightforward decision for us.” James Lloyd, CEO of BioWatt, adds: “Although it has been running successfully since 2012, the current performance level is at between 70-80 per cent efficiency. Our aim is to significantly improve this by fine-tuning the operation, investing in the infrastructure and analysing the biology within the process.”

Members’ News & Views DMT Environmental Technology appoints new UK Business Director Stephen McCulloch has been appointed UK Business Director for DMT Environmental Technology, to develop the UK market for resource recovery and strengthen DMT’s service ability for current biogas upgrading projects. Biogas upgrading specialist DMT uses highly selective membrane technology and has over 30 years’ industry experience. Since the start-up of the first commercially successful biogas to biomethane upgrading plant in the UK at Poundbury, the company has delivered 11 upgrading plants throughout the UK. It is now so confident in its performance that it will be offering a five-year equipment guarantee on its Carborex MS technology going forward. Stephen has led pioneering work on numerous UK biomethane to grid projects and states: “During my 10 years within this exciting industry I have had the pleasure of delivering a number of biomethane to grid projects of all sizes across the UK and European markets. Joining DMT brings me closer towards my personal goal of creating a cleaner, greener future.” See Technology Focus: Biogas upgrading, p16

Center Parcs honours Future Biogas Future Biogas has received a Center Parcs Supplier Award for its Rainworth Energy project at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest. Center Parcs’ annual internal awards recognise the support and dedication of its suppliers throughout the year in a variety of sectors. Triumphing in the category of ‘Delivering Excellent Service Sustainability Initiative’, the Rainworth Energy AD plant supplies biogas to a CHP engine located at Center Parcs. This provides 85 per cent of the village’s electricity, while a district heating network installed as part of the project supplies over 70 per cent of heat for the main leisure facilities. Philipp Lukas, Managing Director of Future Biogas, said: “We are thrilled that the hard work of the team involved in this innovative project has been recognised by Center Parcs and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership and supplying the village with clean, renewable energy for years to come.”

Scottish distillery set to become energy self-sufficient Balmenach, one of Speyside’s oldest whisky distilleries and the home of Caorunn Scottish Gin, is set to become one of Scotland’s greenest distilleries with the announcement that work has started on a £3m biogas project to significantly reduce the site’s carbon footprint. Inver House Distillers has commissioned a new AD system, which will integrate with Balmenach’s existing wood-pellet biomass boiler. Once complete, the combined system will generate enough renewable steam and electricity to meet 100 per cent of the distillery’s energy requirements with a surplus of electrical energy

supplied to the grid. When operational later this year, approximately 130 m3 of whisky co-products (pot ale and spent lees) will be processed to produce 2,000 m3 of biogas each day, feeding a CHP engine which will supply 200 kW of power and 230 kW of heat. Clearfleau, specialist provider of on-site biogas plants for the food and drink industry, is working with Inver House to design and build the new system. Specialist AD engineering firm Synergie Environ is project managing the installation through all feasibility, planning, permitting, procurement and construction phases. Inver House Distillers’ Managing Director, Martin Leonard, comments: “We hope this investment will demonstrate how low carbon manufacture and clean growth are achievable, regardless of the size, location or output of the production site.”

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Policy RHI reforms laid before Parliament At the time of writing, the reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which are set to finally restore higher tariff levels and introduce tariff guarantees for renewable heat generation, had been laid before Parliament in anticipation of being passed in the spring. However, this timeline is subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval, and we are pushing for the legislation to be passed as quickly as possible to restore confidence to the UK AD industry. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has now also published its response to its consultation on eligible heat uses under the RHI. The government had originally proposed removing all drying practices as eligible heat uses but has taken a softer approach, with heat used for the drying of crops, animal bedding, and animal feed all remaining eligible for RHI payments. The consultation response is clear, however, that further evidence may be sought from applicants or participants to ‘test whether the heat use is genuine’.

For up-to-the-minute information and advice on regulations, consultations and government news, contact our Head of Policy, Ollie More T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E The September 2017 RHI consultation also contained questions on very large plant, multiple installations, biomethane proposals, and other cross-cutting issues, and BEIS is due to respond separately on these. For more details on the RHI, contact

The changes will only impact plants that apply for accreditation under the RHI after the reforms come into force. Changes to eligible heat use will be implemented with the remainder of the RHI reforms that are currently anticipated for the spring.

Environment Agency proposes steep rise in charges We have expressed concern over the Environment Agency’s (EA’s) consultation on its Strategic Review of Charges, which proposes significant increases in the majority of charges associated with environmental permitting, including application fees and ongoing annual subsistence fees. The changes will have financial implications for all new and existing AD operators whose activities require an environmental permit in England, with existing charges due to at least double in most cases. The changes are due to be implemented from April 2018, just two months from the conclusion of the consultation period.

Our response to the consultation branded the proposed changes as ‘unjustified’, suggesting that the scale of and short implementation period for the changes could further threaten the viability of an industry already under financial pressure from all sides. We have urged the EA to consider extending the implementation date or, as a minimum, adopt a phased approach, allowing both themselves and AD operators to be fully prepared for any changes. We are also working closely with the EA on the new AD Certification Scheme, which we believe will improve the industry’s performance and justify reductions in annual subsistence fees for certified operators. Many of the scheme criteria are similar to those included in EA site audits, and this presents an opportunity to reduce the EA’s regulatory effort. We will work with the EA to monitor the scheme’s impact and secure regulatory benefits for certified operators through ‘earned recognition’. For more information on the EA’s proposed changes, contact

EU agrees Circular Economy Package The European Commission, Council and Parliament have provisionally agreed the Circular Economy Package of measures for waste, which have been under negotiation for a number of years. The agreement moves the EU towards a higher level of sustainability in waste management over the coming decade, with some stretching ambitions. Particularly notable are targets to increase municipal recycling rates to 65 per cent by 2035 and the introduction of separate biowaste collections across the EU by 2025. Due to the ongoing negotiations regarding the future relationship between the UK and the EU, it is not yet clear whether the targets will end up applying to the UK. Although Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland already have separate food waste collections in place, England is still lagging behind its UK counterparts. For more information, contact 32

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Policy CCC highlights policy gaps in Clean Growth Strategy

RTFO reforms could pave way for biomethane Reforms to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) that should increase demand for biomethane as a transport fuel have been laid before Parliament. The RTFO, administered by the Department for Transport (DfT), delivers reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fuel used for transport purposes by obligating UK fuel suppliers to supply a proportion of their fuel from renewable sources. DfT’s reforms to the RTFO will obligate fuel suppliers to provide 9.75 per cent of all fuels from renewable sources by 2020 – a more than doubling of the current 4.75 per cent obligation – and will then rise to 12.4 per cent of all fuels by 2032. This will help to align the RTFO with the government’s carbon budgets. Biomethane is one such fuel derived from renewable sources that can help fuel suppliers to meet this new higher target, particularly for heavier vehicles for which electrification is impractical or expensive.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which provides independent advice to government on building a low carbon economy, has published its assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy. The report highlights a number of shortcomings in recent government policy across energy, transport, farming, and waste and shows, once again, the role that biomethane and AD can and should have in helping the UK to decarbonise. The CCC’s assessment and the policy gaps identified in the Clean Growth Strategy are important for the AD industry as they show how AD can help government meet the UK’s Carbon Budgets and plan for the decarbonised world of 2050 and beyond. Several of the policy gaps highlighted in the CCC’s report align with our recent letter to Climate Change Minister Claire Perry MP, in which we called for progress on renewable heat support in the 2020s, eliminating biodegradable waste from landfill, and reducing agricultural emissions from manure management.

At this stage, the legislation can only be approved or rejected following debate, and cannot be amended. If approved, it is expected that the changes proposed in the reforms will be in place for the start of the next RTFO obligation year, beginning this April. Read our introduction to the RTFO here: For more information on biomethane for transport, contact

Read Thom’s full review of the CCC’s report here:

Opportunities for AD within Defra’s Environment Plan Defra has published its long-awaited 25 Year Environment Plan, a high-level document that sets out how the government intends to protect and enhance England’s natural environment. While many of the headlines focussed on plastics reduction, the document also contains important ambitions in the AD-relevant areas of soil conservation and waste management. The target for all of England’s soils to be ‘managed sustainably’ by 2030, for example, is an important step in the right direction towards restoring our soils, in which the AD industry can play a key role through producing natural, low-emission biofertiliser in the form of digestate. However, while the Plan contains a commitment to diverting all food waste from landfill by 2030, there were no new commitments on separate food waste collections, which as many as half of local authorities in England still do not offer to residents. We therefore hope to see more on separate food waste collections in the government’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy, due to be published later this year. For more on soil health and food waste collections, contact

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


R&I Update Translating research into best practice The government’s Clean Growth Plan, which is the document it is obliged to publish on how it will meet its future Carbon Budgets, contained some measures in support of AD, including on reducing the quantity of biowaste going to landfill. However, it also highlighted two areas for improvement in which it wants to work with the AD industry; namely, ammonia emissions from digestate storage and spreading, and methane leakage from digestion and associated processes. Both of these areas have had considerable amounts of research conducted on them. WRAP trials as part of the DC-Agri project concluded that ammonia emissions from digestate spreading (before storage was even considered) could be sizeable, but that with good practice they could be much lower. Examples of good practice include applying digestate using precision application methods such as bandspreading/trailing shoe or shallow injection, and applying digestate to crops when there is a nitrogen demand, commonly in the spring/summer. But, as an industry, if we are to ensure that ammonia emissions are reduced (and that government stops worrying about them) we need to translate what the research is telling us into standard practice. This is being addressed through our Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme (ADCS), which contains a set of criteria on digestate and how it should be managed to avoid emissions.


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

On methane leakage, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently tasked consultants Ricardo-AEA with conducting a measurement study on some pilot sites. It is clear that, although methane leakage should not be a major concern for well-managed sites, again, as an industry, we can do better. To address this, we first want to highlight the best performers in our sector through a new award at our AD & Biogas Industry Awards ceremony in July. We will then look to publish case studies on what the best performers are doing, before adding what is reasonable to the ADCS.

ADBA R&I Forum 2018 Preview

Making AD financially self-sufficient through innovation The ADBA Research and Innovation (R&I) Forum 2018, taking place on 11th April at the University of Sheffield, will provide a timely review of the latest technological developments and assess how innovation can support the UK AD industry to become independent from government subsidies in the future. This event will be particularly relevant in light of the government’s move to reduce funding through its review of the FIT, RHI and RTFO.

To take advantage of our sponsorship and exhibitor packages, contact

The next step

Entitled ‘Putting AD on the pathway to zero subsidy’, the Forum will focus on gaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness through technological advances. Sessions will discuss how energy research, greater efficiency in the use of biogas, mitigation of soil erosion, process optimisation and monitoring can together enable AD to gain greater financial independence and longer term commercial viability. The event will also provide an update on the Stepping Up project, as well as the contribution made by forum delegates last year, through a dedicated workshop looking at how innovation can be scaled up and the potential reductions in environmental impact that can be achieved.

Achieving our global potential

Launched in 2010 as the only event solely dedicated to AD technology, the ADBA R&I Forum was specifically developed to keep delegates up-to-date with the latest AD research and innovation, and to provide a platform to discuss how to improve and optimise the AD process and its applications. In the past five years, the UK AD and biogas sector has expanded from a £200m to an £800m industry. Globally, should R&I enable its full development, it could grow into a £1 trillion market, offering solutions across agriculture, urban living, energy generation, waste and water management, as well as contributing in the fight against climate change. The annual ADBA R&I Forum has therefore become a key milestone in the AD industry calendar. The 2018 event will offer a stimulating environment for learning and sharing knowledge for all those involved in developing the technologies needed for AD and biogas to fulfil its commercial, economic and environmental potential and to become a major sector both here in the UK and across the world.

Speakers include • Keynote: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian – Head of Energy Research, University of Sheffield • Professor Sandra Esteves – Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales • Juergen Kube – Head of Technology, Future Biogas • Dr David Tompkins – Head of Knowledge Exchange & Innovation, Aqua Enviro • Obinna Molokwu – Research Engineer Sludge & Energy Innovation, Thames Water Utilities • Phil Hughes – Director of EKOGEA • Dr Thorsten Stoeck – Head of Ecology Department, Faculty of Biology, University of Kaiserslautern • Dr Iain Soutar – Associate Research Fellow, Stepping Up, University of Exeter

Topics at a glance • Moving AD towards a more independent future • What level of efficiency is achievable? • Putting the brakes on runaway soils • Process optimisation and monitoring • How innovation can be scaled up

Register now To register your attendance, go to

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


R&I Special: Bioresources

From deep science to commercialisation


naerobic digestion has always been about more than just biogas. As well as recovering energy and producing electricity, AD has the ability to generate storable green gas; return nutrients and minerals to our depleted soils; and transform organic waste materials into high value biotechnology products, such as green chemicals and bioplastics. The potential of these bioresources is huge, but is yet to be fully realised. However, thanks to a plethora of R&I activity taking place at universities and laboratories around the UK, the step towards commercialisation is inching ever closer. Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Anaerobic Digestion Network (ADNet) is one of 13 free-to-join Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (NIBB). In addition to promoting networking activities through events, ADNet funds both fundamental and practical research. Part of a biorefinery concept is the production of high value products from AD. The Network has supported several projects in this area – recovery and purification of fatty acids and nutrients using integrated membrane freeze-thaw processes (Swansea University); microbial enhancement of phyto-active compounds (such as plant growth-promoting factors), carried out by the University of South Wales; and extraction of fatty acids from waste blood AD (University of Southampton). The technical feasibility of these projects was proven, although more research is needed to examine their commercial feasibility. 36

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Proving the value of digestate

The creation of other high value products from digestate also falls into the realm of the biorefinery. An example of this is the collaboration between G’s Fresh and NIAB EMR, a horticultural and agricultural research institute, to demonstrate the potential of digestate fibre as a commercial mushroom substrate, a project which is closer to commercialisation. G’s Fresh is a major producer of fresh vegetables and mushrooms. It runs a 3 MW, two-stage mesophilic AD plant at Littleport, Cambridgeshire, which produces over 6,000 tonnes of mechanically separated, PAS 110-certified digestate fibre, currently applied to land. Adjacent to the AD plant is the UK’s largest and most advanced mushroom farm, which uses 25,000 tonnes of imported substrate to produce 8,000 tonnes of button mushrooms each year. A project funded through Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) showed that the digestate fibre can be converted into a mushroom cropping substrate, potentially saving G’s Fresh up to £1.5m annually on imported mushroom fertiliser. Batches of digestate fibre were processed without amendments, and then again with the addition of radish waste and wheat straw. Suitable processed mixes were blended at a ratio of 20 per cent digestate/80 per cent mushroom compost and filled into cropping shelves. The mushroom yields were then compared with 100 per cent compost, after which it was concluded that large

R&I Special: Bioresources Professor Sandra Esteves will be speaking at the upcoming ADBA R&I Forum 2018, 11th April, University of Sheffield. To find out more or register your attendance, see p35 or go to

Aiming high

Another workstream will investigate ways in which low value materials, such as sewage sludge, organic wastes and digestates, can be processed to allow the recovery or production of high value materials such as nutrients, chemical intermediates, biopolymers and enzymes. The project will demonstrate that it is possible to recover or manufacture materials with numerous applications and show how they could lead to the development of new economic and industrial activities, changing the way in which waste materials are treated and disposed of in the future.

scale processing of digestate fibre mixed with wheat straw and radish waste produced a substrate that was suitable for growing mushrooms. However, to obtain maximum mushroom yields, it will be necessary to change the analysis of the digestate fibre by manipulating waste feedstocks and optimising the ratio of gypsum.

The project will also focus on the ways in which treatment processes, in particular AD, are monitored and controlled. Researchers will work with a number of AD plant operators to demonstrate how advanced monitoring and control practices, such as multi-parameter monitoring and the characterisation and enrichment of microbial populations, can lead to greater process efficiencies, greater biogas production, and a reduction in process inhibition events.

Next-generation polymers

At the forefront of innovation

ADNet is also funding research at the University of Nottingham in which biogas methane is used as a feedstock to produce chemical commodities, by using methane-consuming bacteria as an organism in a gas fermentation process. Through a biological process, it is possible to convert biogas methane to the polymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which can be converted easily into a wide variety of different plastics. Looking ahead, it may make more sense from a business standpoint to use methane as a feedstock rather than burning it for power production. PHB sells for $3-4 per kilo on today’s market, while methane burned for electricity production would return as little as 40-80 cents per kilo. A final bioresources area to watch from the ADNet’s point of view is biomethanisation, a hybrid technology combining renewables-driven electrolytic H2 production and AD. By injecting hydrogen into the digester, the biochemical reduction of CO2 to CH4 is possible, thereby producing biogas with a methane content greater than 95 per cent (in-situ biogas upgrading). The AD Network has sponsored aspects of this from proof of concept through to pilot scale, with academic work primarily being carried out by the Universities of Southampton, Sheffield and York, along with industrial partners.

Embracing the circular economy

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of South Wales have begun work on a ground-breaking collaborative industrial research project that aims to revolutionise the way in which industries gain value from the materials they use and produce. Led by Professor Sandra Esteves, SMART CIRCLE* will help companies involved in a range of industrial activities, from steel production to waste treatment, to adopt the principles of the circular economy and create additional value from materials that are already within their process chains. The project aims to deploy a pilot plant of a biological process developed by the University at a Tata Steel facility, which will allow the recycling of waste process gases, including carbon dioxide, to produce methane. This can then be used as a fuel within the company’s manufacturing process. It is hoped that successful demonstration could pave the way for large scale deployment of the process to capture and recycle industrial CO2 emissions.

“SMART CIRCLE is meeting head-on some of the big questions that the circular economy demands to be asked,” says Project Lead, Professor Sandra Esteves. “We have to develop technical solutions that bring about a step change in resource efficiency and are economically feasible. This is very challenging and needs exactly the kind of collaborative approach between academics and industry that we see here – but these challenges bring the potential to make big changes to industrial practices that will improve both economic viability and environmental performance.” Angela Bywater, Co-Network Manager of the AD Network, adds: “Much more research, varying from deep science early-stage work through to commercial optimisation, is being carried out by UK universities and businesses in order to keep the AD industry competitive and at the core of a truly circular bioeconomy.” *SMART CIRCLE has received £992,000 from the Welsh Government SMART Expertise programme that allocates EU Regional Development Funds (ERDF) to help address industrial challenges and deliver commercial benefits through collaborative academic and industrial research. The project has eight industrial partners who are collectively providing match funding to a value of £992,000: Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Tata Steel UK Ltd, Fre-Energy Ltd, Bryn Power Ltd, GP-Biotec Ltd, BPE Design and Support Ltd, Heatcatcher Ltd and, based in Spain, the Severo Ochoa Foundation.

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Showcasing game-changing innovations in clean, low-carbon technologies Invest in technologies that can make a real difference

Thirsty-six of the most promising innovations have been selected for presentation at the Royal Institution in London on 20th March. The event will also feature up to 30 exhibitors displaying their latest technologies. Join us to learn, network, and build partnerships to deliver ground-breaking cleantech solutions.

Lead Sponsor:

This is the place to be if you are interested in innovation in the cleantech sector and you want to have powerful discussions with leading entrepreneurs, investors and suppliers who can help you take the next step. Alex Chalkley, Director, Granted Ltd



AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Upcoming Events ADBA R&I Forum 2018 11th apr 2018

University of Sheffield

Entitled ‘Putting AD on the path to zero subsidy’, the ADBA Research and Innovation Forum 2018 will provide a timely review of the latest technological developments and assess how innovation can support the UK AD industry to become independent from government subsidies in the future. See p35 for full details.

ADBA Members’ This free, member-only event gives you the chance to hear from government departments such as BEIS and DfT, as well as regulators including Ofgem, and to discuss the latest Meeting 18th apr 2018

24th apr 2018

24th May 2018

11-12th jul 2018

Bird & Bird offices, London

industry developments with our policy team.

ADBA Finance Forum

The ADBA Finance Forum meets twice a year to discuss the barriers and opportunities for funders of AD plants. Representatives from different finance sectors will review recent developments, and hear updates from ADBA’s Strategic Adviser Chris Huhne and our policy team.

Osborne Clarke offices, London

ADBA Regulatory Forum Walker Morris offices, Leeds

UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2018 NEC, Birmingham

11th jul 2018

AD & Biogas Industry Awards 2018 The Vox, Birmingham

This free, member-only event will address the most important regulatory issues facing the AD industry today. AD operators, consultants and developers will receive updates on the latest changes to regulation and compliance through presentations from the EA, HSE and APHA, and will also have the opportunity to feed back their views to the regulators.

Entitled ‘Igniting biogas growth around the world’, this annual event – the largest international trade show dedicated solely to the AD and biogas industry – provides the latest market and technology news, as well as a platform for industry professionals from the UK and overseas to network, share experiences and do business. Key themes in 2018 will be food waste management, biomethane for transport and heat, and AD as a new income for farmers. See p28-29 for full details.

Our annual, black-tie industry awards ceremony will celebrate outstanding contributions to the AD and biogas industry both in the UK and globally across 19 categories, and offers an excellent opportunity to network with industry leaders and pioneers. Tickets include a drinks reception, three-course meal and entertainment. See p27 for full details.

To register your interest in attending any of the above events and find out how to sponsor and exhibit, please contact our Head of Events, Gayle Brandon-Kirby. E T +44 (0)203 176 5440

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Membership Matters

Make the most of ADBA events in 2018 So, 2018 is upon us and while we wait for Parliament to approve the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) regulations, there is plenty to look forward to in the form of a packed ADBA events calendar, including Members’ Meetings, the ADBA R&I Forum in April, UK AD and World Biogas Expo in July, the ADBA Biomethane & Gas Vehicle Conference in September, and the ADBA National Conference series continuing in Northern Ireland and London. We hope to see many of you at one or more of these events. Member Ashleigh Environmental is presenting at Cleantech Innovate on 20th March, showcasing technology that claims to improve performance by as much as a third. And at the recent EBA Conference in Antwerp, our Chief Executive Charlotte Morton met member GM Green Methane, who are keen to present their new upgrading technology at the UK AD and World Biogas Expo. Technologies which improve performance are just what we need at a time of declining subsidies. With the windy conditions causing the cancellation of the second day at LAMMA, some of our member catch-ups were delayed this January. We did, however, manage to pay a visit to CooperÖstlund in Northampton to discuss how we can work with members to promote the AD Certification Scheme (ADCS) to improve performance across the industry, as well as hear about some of their recent work in the CHP sector. Charlotte and Jess Allan visited Scotland last month to discuss the ADCS with SEPA, and also took the opportunity to meet NFU Scotland and member The Greenspan Agency. Whilst on the subject of the AD Certification Scheme, we were very excited to hear that Granville Eco Park in Northern Ireland has become the first plant to gain certification under the scheme – we look forward to seeing who else will be certified this year. As usual, we give a warm welcome to our new members listed below – we look forward to working with you. If you are not currently an ADBA member and have been considering joining, then do give us a call to discuss your AD business and how membership can benefit you. For membership enquiries, contact T +44 (0)203 176 4414

Welcome new ADBA members! 4 Barns AD Aether Energy David Woolgar Consulting Earthcare Technical Greenlane Biogas IGEM John Laing Capital Management KCP Ltd Langdon Mills Farm Millers Contracting Pennington Manches ROST International Trading Ltd Utonomy Willand Biogas


AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

FAREWELL, ALEX We would like to bid a fond farewell to our Membership Manager, Alex Monks, who is leaving to work for an AD developer closer to where he lives. We wish him the best of luck!  

Welcome Jocelyne Jocelyne Bia, Senior Marketing Manager “From my background in the energy sector, I was aware of AD as an additional option for generating clean energy. On joining ADBA, I learned about the huge potential of this industry to provide solutions to global challenges across multiple sectors. I am delighted to be in a position to help promote AD as a game-changing technology to address those challenges and support its growth both in the UK and abroad.”

Welcome Cristina Cristina Martins, Senior Sales Executive “Hello! I will be happy to guide you through all the opportunities we have available to help you showcase your products and services, whether in our publications or at our events, through advertising, exhibitor or sponsorship packages.”

Welcome Subi

Subi Nagendra, Finance Manager “I am excited to be working for ADBA, an organisation which is ensuring we are leaving a cleaner world for the next generation, and am looking forward to being part of the team.”

Membership Matters

Safety First Biogas safety in design and operation By David Woolgar of David Woolgar Consulting Ltd At a meeting of the ADBA Training, Safety and Environment Working Group about a year ago, there was a discussion about the lack of technical guidance for the design and operation of biogas systems. So, as a professional gas engineer involved in the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM)’s production of technical guidance and safety recommendations for the past 15 years, I thought I would signpost some of the guidance available. AD plants are designed to produce biogas, which is potentially explosive, so its production and use are therefore covered by various health and safety regulations. The design intention of an AD plant is to contain the biogas – this is achieved by well built, tested and maintained gas pipework. The relevant IGEM guidance are: • IGEM/UP/2 – Installation pipework on industrial and commercial premises, which sets out standards for design and pipe materials, jointing, valves and other fittings, and; • IGEM/UP/1 – Strength testing, tightness testing and direct purging of industrial and commercial gas installations, which covers testing and bringing into service.

While the underlying principle of the IGEM guidance is that a correctly designed and tested installation will enter service gas-tight, it recognises that over time joints can develop a leak. Routine inspection will identify these leaks while they are small and can be rectified. Even small leaks can cause explosive atmospheres, however, so all gas systems must be risk assessed under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). If a leak occurs in a well-ventilated area, the gas will be dissipated and the location will not be hazardous, but in less well-ventilated areas a hazardous explosive atmosphere could develop. DSEAR requires the operator to identify and record potentially hazardous areas. The recognised guidance document for determining hazardous areas from gases is BS60079:10-1; however, this is a generic document and the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL) has identified that it is very conservative for methane. Better guidance is IGEM/SR/25 – Hazardous area classification of Natural Gas installations. This is applicable to biogas and contains standardised tables providing the extent of a hazardous area for various conditions and pressures, based on HSL testing. David Woolgar Consulting Ltd is a consultancy specialising in process engineering of anaerobic digestion and gas engineering – design of biogas and biomethane systems, hazardous area classification, DSEAR assessment and ATEX compliance.

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News


Membership Matters Positive signs abound at Members’ Meeting

TEAM Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton T +44 (0)203 176 0503 E PA to Chief Executive/Database Assistant, Priya Gathani T +44 (0)203 567 1041 E Strategic Adviser, Chris Huhne E Head of Policy, Ollie More T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E Policy Manager, Dr Thom Koller T +44 (0)203 176 0592 E Environment and Regulation Manager, Jess Allan T +44 (0)203 735 8380 E

It may come as no surprise to learn that Brexit, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and food waste were top of the agenda at the most recent ADBA Members’ Meeting, held at Ashfords’ London offices on 8th November 2017. What members may not have been expecting, however, was the air of positivity coming from many of the speakers towards the future for the UK AD industry, after what was an uncertain and challenging year. ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, set the tone for the day in her opening address, declaring: “I feel more optimistic than I have for a while. The government fully intends to pass the RHI legislation; we’re hearing encouraging noises from Defra regarding separate food waste recycling; and Plant Grow has successfully created a market for digestate.” Charlotte countered this, however, by adding: “But there’s still a considerable lack of urgency in the government’s approach to decarbonising energy.” Chris Huhne, ADBA’s Strategic Adviser, continued the positive theme, even when talking about the potential effects of Brexit. “Our industry is better placed than most to cope with political uncertainty, as we are so used to it,” he reminded delegates. However, he warned against complacency, adding: “Despite the world economy performing better than expected, Britain is the outlier. We are the poorest performing country in the G7 – we have the slowest growth, but we’re not in recession.” The most anticipated speech of the day came from BEIS’ Dr Oliver Quast. A collective sigh of relief followed his comment that, “BEIS remains committed to implementing the remaining RHI reforms.” The regulations have now been laid before Parliament and are awaiting approval before hopefully coming into force later in the spring. However, Dr Quast recognised that the delays to the RHI are set to cause a peak once the regulations are made law. He explained that the headroom for tariff guarantees will be set at 50 per cent of the total headroom and, as a result, not all applications will be successful. Presentations by Ofgem’s Angus McDonald on the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) sustainability requirements and ADBA’s Jess Allan on the AD Certification Scheme followed. David Woolgar then delivered a thorough session on gas safety, before the event was brought to a close by Mike Falconer Hall, Organics Programme Manager for WRAP. Mike informed delegates that separate food 42

AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

Market Analyst, Emiliano Lewis T +44 (0)203 567 0751 E External Affairs Manager, Jon Harrison T +44 (0)203 176 0591 E PR & Parliamentary Affairs Executive, Chris Noyce T +44 (0)203 176 5441 E Sales Manager, Roberta Bontempo T +44 (0)203 176 4414 E Senior Sales Executive, Cristina Martins T +44 (0)203 176 0592 E Head of Events, Gayle Brandon-Kirby T +44 (0)203 176 5440 E Event Producer, Desiree De Cecchis T +44 (0)203 176 4415 E Events Admin & Production Assistant, Cheryl Murdoch T +44 (0)203 735 8118 E Senior Marketing Manager, Jocelyne Bia T +44 (0)203 176 0590 E Marketing Manager, Jinna Sidhu T +44 (0)203 735 8117 E Finance Manager, Subi Nagendra T +44 (0)203 176 6962 E Accounts Assistant, Anthony Olasoji T +44 (0)203 176 0503 E AD Finance, Bruce Nelson, Director of Compass Renewables T +44 (0)1732 464495 E Jelf Insurance Team T +44 (0)1905 892356 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

waste collections in England (the only part of the UK where they are not mandatory) are up from 85 in 2012/13 to 109 in 2016/17. However, there is clearly still much more to be done in this area, and Mike encouraged members to review the annual report of the Food Waste Recycling Action Plan (FWRAP), now available on the WRAP website, to see just what action is taking place in this critical area for AD. To attend the next ADBA Members’ Meeting (18th April, Bird & Bird offices, London) go to

URBAN FOOD WASTE * MANAGEMENT A practical guide for policy makers to achieve climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals

It is estimated that managing food waste sustainably would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49bn tonnes - or the equivalent of taking 90% of EU cars off the road. In spring 2018, to address this issue, the World Biogas Association (WBA), C40 Cities Climate and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch a ground-breaking report on the treatment of food waste from cities through anaerobic digestion (AD). Implementing effective food waste reduction, capture and recycling in cities is critical to meeting Paris Agreement commitments and to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Cities therefore need to include separate food waste collection and AD infrastructure in their plans. The report will review the challenges associated with urban food waste, its environmental impact, the need to reduce it, the benefits of improving food waste collection and recycling in cities, the treatment technologies available and the barriers to their widespread application. It will make policy recommendations and provide a guide for cities wishing to improve their food waste management through AD treatment and recycling.

Chapters 1. Introduction – What is the problem? 2. Background – Sources and impact of food waste 3. Food waste prevention 4. Food waste collection 5. Food waste treatment technologies 6. Anaerobic digestion 7. Products of anaerobic digestion 8. Project barriers and policy recommendations; “how to” 9. Conclusion

Become a sponsor to associate your brand with this landmark publication

Why Sponsor?


RAISE YOUR ORGANISATION’S INTERNATIONAL PROFILE AND REPUTATION by • Being associated with a thought-leadership report supported by global leaders in the field • Helping shape global policy around food waste • Reaching over 5,000 decision and policy makers in food waste management, collection, recycling technologies and best practice • Getting your name mentioned within a global awareness campaign across the WBA, C40 Cities and EPA networks.

To discuss your options, please contact: Roberta Bontempo, Sales Manager E:; T: + 44 (0)20 3176 4414; + 44 (0)79 312 91096

Canterbury Court | Kennington Park Business Centre 1-3 Brixton Road | London | SW9 6DE | UK *provisional title

spring 2018 | AD & Bioresources News



AD & Bioresources News | spring 2018

AD&Bioresources News spring 2018  

AD&Bioresources News spring 2018

AD&Bioresources News spring 2018  

AD&Bioresources News spring 2018