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From A to D: AF-Environmental publishes editorial on hands-on AD experience in CIWM Journal

Alpha-Financials Environmental has published an editorial on the lessons learnt from hands-on anaerobic digestion (AD) experience in the September 2013 issue of the CIWM Journal. Director Anne Laleman describes her experience at the Finsterwalder Umwelttechnik GmbH (Fitec) AD plant in Germany and the Langage AD plant in Devon, UK. A summary of the key points are provided here:   1. Decontamination Micro-organisms involved in the AD process require optimum conditions to produce maximum methane output. Decontamination of the feedstock is necessary to maintain these conditions to maximise biogas yield and the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous nutrient ratio. Increased up-front investment is needed in decontamination technology to ensure biogas is still produced two years after construction. 2. Financial Viability Fitec believes that a minimum of 12,000 tonnes of feedstock are necessary per annum to achieve profitable operation. Knowledgeable financial forecasting is necessary to ensure financial viability but predictions are subject to dramatic change. Langage AD plant found that predicted gate fees of £45/tonne were in some cases dropped to £0. Langage also found construction costs increase as excavation was needed to sink the tanks to provide uninterrupted views across Dartmoor national park. 3. Digestate Management Langage produces 10,560 cubic meters of digestate per annum which needs to be managed to control the cost of storage, sale and transport. Transportation costs were higher than expected (£140,000) for Langage which had expected to use the digestate in-house. 4. Own Feedstock Collection vs Third Party Collection A decision needs to be made as to how to source feedstock at a financially viable cost. The high operational cost of running feedstock collection vehicles in a widespread area led Langage AD plant to outsource feedstock collection to a third party. “Deteriorating economics and a series of technical issues suggest that making a success of AD is a hard fought opportunity but one about which we should all remain very passionate indeed.”   CIWM members can read the full article here. Fitec square   Langage AD logo