Successful ‘green gas’ link-ups for AD projects

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15 December 2010

News that two UK AD facilities have successfully linked to the National Gas Grid as part of the biomethane demonstration projects announced earlier this year signals another positive step for the AD sector

In October Chesterfield BioGas (CBG) successfully completed its first biogas upgrading project injecting organically produced gas from the Thames Water site at Didcot directly into the National Gas Grid. Biogas generated in the waste water treatment process at Didcot is upgraded to 97% pure methane (biomethane) using biogas water scrubbing technology.

Adnams Brewery at Southwold also linked to the gas grid in early October. Adnams BioEnergy, which has three anaerobic digesters, will eventually produce enough renewable gas to power the brewery and the company’s fleet of lorries, with a further 60% of output going into the National Grid.

The technology enabling the upgrading of biogas to biomethane has been in development for the past 20 years and is used in Japan, Korea, Germany, Spain, France and Sweden. Research by the National Grid shows that if all potential sources of biogas were collected and processed using AD and biogas upgrading, it could fulfil almost 50% of the UK’s domestic gas requirement, reducing greenhouse gases and reliance on imported gas.

Adoption of this type of technology in the UK has not been encouraged to date in the same way as other forms of renewable energy production.  When finally published, the Government’s proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme should go some way towards rebalancing the situation. The RHI is  expected to provide financial incentives for the generation of renewable heat by households, communities and industry, including through the direct injection of biomethane into the natural gas network.

“With the proposed introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive, policy focus on collecting source separated food waste and AD as a form of renewable energy technology, upgrading biogas to biomethane for the National Grid is likely to be an increasingly attractive option for AD plants” said Nigel Campbell, Director in the Environmental Projects team.

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