Will R&D double or quadruple the potential of the AD industry?

ADBA R&D Forum: 14-15 April, Southampton

ADBA has already estimated that the UK AD industry has the potential to produce 40TWh of biomethane each year, over 10% of domestic gas demand, and at next month’s R&D Forum we will challenge the industry to consider whether we can double or even quadruple this potential by taking the advantage of the UK’s world-leading academic knowledge base.

ADBA’s 2015 R&D Forum, in partnership with the AD Network and supported by KTN, will bring together forward-thinking industry leaders, academia and public sector partners, including Guardian contributor, author and climate change expert, Chris Goodall. The event will explore how new technology could support AD plants of all scales to deliver reduced costs and increased output; maximising profitability and enhancing contributions to energy and climate change objectives.

What feedstocks could revolutionise the industry’s potential?

The Forum will look at the tens of thousands of tonnes of untapped waste vegetation which could be harvested for AD plants from bioenergy projects on nature reserves. In addition, the event will look at the benefits of algae as a potential feedstock for AD; requiring very little land and fuelled by key AD outputs including nutrients, water, heat and carbon dioxide.

What are the opportunities from higher-value products?

Last October ADBA widened its existing remit to include bioresources in acknowledgement of the role new emerging high value products can play in future-proofing the industry. The Forum will explore these new products and technologies and what they could mean for the industry – could AD be used to make lego and bike tyres?

Can you earn £100 per tonne of digestate?

A recent WRAP report on the AD industry has indicated that some operators and not receiving any income for their digestate. How could new techniques support digestate to compete with peat in the wholesale and retail markets? There can be no doubt that transforming digestate into a saleable product would transform the economics of AD.

Can AD work for the UK’s 10,000 dairy farms?

For the first time in living memory, there are fewer than 10,000 dairy farmers in the UK, and that number is less than half those in 2002. If the remaining dairy farmers are to survive they will need to diversify and find new revenue streams which support their core business. ADBA recently contributed to research carried out by Forum for the Future’s Farm Power coalition which found that 10GW of on-farm renewable energy – sufficient to power an estimated 1.3 million homes – remains an untapped resource. New research could, however, ensure that small-scale (below 100kW) offers a commercially viable option for farmers. 

What can we do to optimise operational performance?

A panel of industry experts will advise on new technologies emerging onto the market and what operators can do to improve the operational efficiency of their plants; improving performance and maximising outputs. Professor Charles Banks, the internationally recognised academic on AD technology, will speak on the need to maximise the rates of biogas conversion. 

Posted in: ADBA News

Tags: ADBA R&D Forum, southampton, AD network, ktn, biomethane, digestate, dairy farms, operational performance, higher-value products, bioresources, nature reserves, feedstock, innovation, Derek Sivyer