Energy generation from AD continues to climb

AD currently produces approximately 10.7 TWh of biogas in the UK, equating to 2.2% of the 477 TWh UK gas production in 2016. This is up from 9 TWh in 2015. The energy is generated from 554 AD plants across the sewage, agricultural, municipal/commercial and industrial sectors.

  • 3.5 TWh of this is used for biomethane production which is injected into the gas grid, up from 2.6 TWh last year. AD operators are finding it increasingly attractive to upgrade their biogas to biomethane and export this to the gas grid, with greater government support offered through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme due to the lack of progress to date on decarbonising heat.
  • The remaining 7.2 TWh of biogas is used to produce 2.8 TWh of electricity (this assumes 39% electrical efficiency on average for CHP engines).


Though the remaining 4.4 TWh is mainly vented, there are now more operators who are finding a productive use for this thermal energy to heat their own operations, such as their farm, greenhouse, or nearby factory. ADBA members have provided data from a variety of operational plants with generation capacities in the 500-5000kW tariff band to show actual heat used in the industry, and the following are a few examples of these:

  • May Farm Anaerobic Digester (Farm AD) / Barway Farms Ltd (Shropshire Energy) operate a 2.4MWe food waste plant in Shropshire that uses 34% of its potential heat. Of this, 3% is used parasitically for digester heating, 32% is used for pasteurisation and 65% is employed in the adjacent mushroom farms.
  • Greenshoots Energy is a non-food waste plant supplying heat to an industrial source. It uses 60% of its 1200kW capacity supplying steam for a feed mill and for district heating.
  • A food waste AD facility (which prefers to remain unnamed) uses 30% of the heat output from its 1.5MW CHP engine for parasitic heating of digester tanks.


If you would like to learn more about this, why not attend the UK AD & Biogas and World Biogas Expo 2017?

  • The Performance and Operations session on 6th July 10.00-11.15 will discuss how to improve biogas yields, speed up processes and prevent failures, among other factors that will help improve your plant's performance.


If you have any questions about the industry, please feel free to send me an e-mail (

Posted in: ADBA News, Industry News

Tags: anaerobic digestion, biogas, biomethane, energy generation, new generation biogas, UK AD & Biogas, emiliano lewis