AD lobby sounds alarm as it slips down renewables agenda
Fears that anaerobic digestion (AD) is being overlooked in the Government's renewable energy strategy has prompted industry leaders to take action.
The Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) has produced detailed guidance to encourage greater uptake of anaerobic digestion (AD) in the UK amid concerns that DECC's recently updated Renewable Energy Roadmap is failing to prioritise the technology.
According to ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton, while the DECC document lays out some helpful actions for the renewables sector as a whole, it neglects to showcase the potential AD could play in meeting future green energy targets.
"The roadmap doesn't even have a specific section on AD, or mention the potential for biomethane as a transport fuel," she pointed out, adding that greater coordination across government was needed to realise these benefits.
"Waste policy needs to maximise the organic material available for AD, bioenergy policy needs to support good practice and compare technologies by common criteria, and biomethane in transport needs a more attractive framework of support," she maintained.
In response ADBA has published its own roadmap to argue the case for AD as a leading viable renewable energy contender. The document outlines the main barriers that remain in adopting the technology and suggests how these can be overcome.
Whether the document will go some way to address concerns over future feedstock security in the sector remain to be seen - last month a leading AD plant operator warned of possible turbulence in the market due to increased competition.
Despite this, growth in AD remains steady. According to ADBA, there are now 92 AD plants outside the water sector in the UK, compared to 69 in late 2011.
An independent report by thinktank CentreForum published in July 2012 showed that AD already generates four times more energy than solar PV, and has the capacity for 800% growth by 2020 with the right support.
Last month ADBA also published a practical guide for new entrants into the sector, offering information on planning and permitting, health and safety, digestate standards, feedstock characteristics, design build and commissioning.