AD activity heightens as plant efficiency comes under scrutiny

Momentum around anaerobic digestion (AD) continues as key players look to increase market share in the sector on the back of wider moves to boost plant efficiency and operating costs.

With plenty of business activity taking place during the past few weeks, WRAP has put out a tender to identify solutions that will improve cost and efficiency of AD plants under its ‘Driving Innovation in AD’ (DIAD) programme, which forms part of Defra’s AD Action Plan.

The project will look to address four main areas: scalable technology, adding value to digestate, heat recovery options, and commercial feasibility of novel technologies.

According to WRAP’s head of organics Ian Wardle, despite growth in the sector there are still a number of barriers facing operators.

“Access to funding, opportunities for technology transfer from other sectors and a lack of operational data are just a few examples,” he said.

That however hasn’t deterred two major organic waste operators striking a significant deal under which the management and development rights of four Countrystyle Group AD sites will be transferred to Tamar Energy.

Under the agreement, Tamar has acquired the development rights to three of Countrystyle’s sites with full planning permission for AD facilities in the south of England and the development of a fourth facility subject to planning.

The newly formed Tamar Organics division will also take over the management and operation of six of Countrystyle’s in-vessel and open windrow composting sites in the South East and East Anglia.

Countrystyle’s organics management team will transfer to Tamar Organics as part of the deal and the company will supply feedstock initially for the four AD plants and Tamar’s new organics division.

Meanwhile in Wales, work has begun on Biogen’s first food waste anaerobic digestion plant which will be sited at Llwyn Isaf near Caernarfon.

The facility, which is being built on behalf of Gwynedd Council, has a 11,000 tonne per annum capacity and will process food waste collected from the county’s homes by the council and from businesses in the region.

The £5m plant is on schedule to be completed by the middle of 2013 and is expected to start generating electricity by the end of the summer.

Maxine Perella

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