"World class researchers building a world class AD industry"

Gain insight from top AD researchers and learn about:
  • Why the National Grid is seeking to reduce the cost of connecting to the high pressure gas network
  • Whether biogas yields can be increased by 30% compared to existing operations
  • R&D findings from investments by AD operators Muntons, Future Biogas and QUBE Renewables
  • Results of the WRAP digestate trials and how this could add value to digestate and improve crop yields with use of digestate
Book your ticket now and stay ahead of the competition - gain inside knowledge into the latest emerging AD technologies.

Research & Innovation Forum - Day 1

10.00 - 10.30
Registration and exhibition – with refreshments
10.30 - 11.30
Welcome and introduction
World class researchers, building a world class industry
The UK leads the way in innovative, AD focused research. ADBAs Chief Executive will highlight the world class projects currently being developed, touch upon the potential of AD if research and innovation achieves certain breakthroughs, and advocate for a stronger government commitment to energy research – specifically within the circular economy sector as the need to harness and utilise our precious natural resources becomes more pressing.
Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive, ADBA
“The Key Role of Anaerobic Digestion in an All-Renewable Electricity Supply”
AD has the potential to act as a baseload power source and increase the UK’s security of supply as the capacity margin comes under increasing strain. Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham, author of “The Burning Answer: A User's Guide to the Solar Revolution” will assess how intermittent renewable sources – such as wind and solar – can form a strong, sustainable, dependable solution to future demand with the help of AD.
Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham, Distinguished Research Fellow - Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London
The priorities for future research
The ADBA Research and Innovation Forum is kindly supported, and held in partnership with, the Biorenewables Development Centre. Here they will give an overview of current projects, discuss how they hope each one will contribute to the overall AD process, and assess where the next challenges are for future research and innovation and what priorities exist for themselves, as well as other leading research institutions.
David Vaughan, Senior Technologist, Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC)
11.30 - 13.00
Session 1: Funding the research of the future: from innovation to commercialisation
Chair: Professor Charles Banks, Head of Water & Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton
As we await a response from DECC to ADBA’s call for £25m worth of AD research funding, this session will inform attendees of current funding opportunities from the UK
Research Councils and Innovate, as well as EU funding through Horizon 2020, and set out how companies and academics can apply for and win funding applications for their innovative projects, and hear how past AD research UK has made the leap from bright ideas to full commercialisation.
Bio-based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking (JU) Funding
Ian Holmes, H2020 National Contact Point - Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Blue Growth and the Bioeconomy, Innovate UK
Past investment and future funding opportunities
Dr Colin Miles, Head of Strategy, Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, BBSRC
Questions and comments from the floor
Lunch and exhibition
14.00 - 15.30
Session 2: Process improvement: can research increase biogas yields by 30%?
Chair: Tony Pickess, UK Sales Director, Gemidan Ecogi
As the AD industry matures, process efficiency and operational maintenance becomes increasingly important to the financial success and overall output of the AD plant. In this session, expert speakers will touch upon current methane yields and give their views on how these can be improved. Does the AD industry currently measure operational methane yields consistently? Can we improve this by 30%, transforming the viability and potential of the industry? What steps need to be taken to meet this 30% target and is it actually achievable?  
How will ultrasound increase methane production?
Tony Amato, R&D and Technology Manager, Doosan Enpure
Dr Sri Suhartini, Research Assistant, Birmingham City University
Can microbial dynamics increase methane production by 30%?
Dr James Chong, Senior Lecture - Department of Biology, University of York
Will tank digestion ever beat cow digestion?
Mike Mason, Chairman, Tropical Power
Is low temperature AD effective?
Professor Tom Curtis, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences - Environmental Engineering, Newcastle University
Case Study: maintaining the optimum condition of a digester
Dave Auty, Bioenergy Engineering Manager, Capita-PROjEN
Questions and comments from the floor with panel.
15.30 - 16.00 Refreshments and exhibition
16.00 - 16.30
Session 3: Connecting to the grid – next steps for unconventional gas
Can connections to the NTS high pressure gas grid provide a viable alternative?
The National Grid will give an overview of a project they are undertaking to reduce the cost of connecting biomethane producers to the high pressure gas transmission network.
If innovation is “knowledge in and money out” then this area of innovation has the potential to improve the viability of connecting more biomethane producers to high pressure networks, a key long-term aim of ADBA and the industry more widely as we seek to reach 2020 targets.
Elaine Calvert, Commercial Lead - Project CLoCC, National Grid
Questions and comments from the floor
16.30 - 17.00 Session 4: Feature case study - next steps for sewage sludge research
“Optimising the anaerobic digestion process through improved understanding of fundamental operational parameters”
The UK water sector is a world leader in AD research and development. Delegates will hear from one of the leading water companies on their latest work and how it could impact on future AD output, not only for the water sector, but for AD operators and on-farm developments more widely. The session will also touch upon best practice for data modelling, mixing techniques and process efficiency.
Stefano Giacalone, Research Engineer - Sludge & Energy Innovation, Thames Water Utilities
Questions and comments from the floor
17.00 End of Day 1
19.00 Research and Innovation Dinner

Research & Innovation Forum - Day 2

08.30 - 10.30
Breakfast digest: BDC site visit and networking
10.30 - 11.00 Registration and exhibition – with refreshments
11.00 - 12.15
Session 1: From 8 TWh to 80 TWh – commercialising new feedstocks for AD 
Chair: Mike Mason, Chairman, Tropical Power
How can new, lower-cost, fully-sustainable feedstocks such as reeds and straw be brought on to the AD market? The industry is already producing 8TWh of biogas: with investment in research and innovation this could be 80TWh. How can we translate this goal (of 80TWh) into research and scientific programmes so as to ensure the AD industry meets 30% of household gas demand?
Wetland biomass for AD? From DECC funding to commercial reality
Sally Mills, Bioenergy Project Manager, RSPB
Seaweed for AD? Opportunities and challenges
Michelle Morrison, Principal AD Scientist & Group Leader, The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
Straw for AD? A pre-treatment technique
John Scott Kerr, Director of Business Development, Future Biogas
Questions and comments from the floor
12.15 - 13.00 Lunch and exhibition
13.00 - 13.45
Session 2: The AD Operator View: what should the AD industry research priorities be?
Chair: Angela Bywater, Network Manager, BBSRC NIBB AD Network
AD operators are vital to the continued progression and development of AD research. Future technologies and innovative products will be taken up, used, operated and maintained by this sector. It is therefore vital that they help define the priorities for AD research which can do the most good in helping them maximise their AD operation and develop a truly circular economy of organic waste recycling.
Case study: Developing a local circular economy
Ryland Cairns, Environment Manager, Muntons
Case study: commercialising small scale AD technology
Alice Bayfield, Project Coordinator, QUBE Renewables
Questions and comments from the floor
13.45 - 14.45 Session 3: AD beyond energy generation: can your AD plant produce £250k per year of digestate? 
Chair: Ollie More, Market Analyst, ADBA
Recovering value from the co-products of AD is becoming increasingly widespread, but the focus on biogas production still remains amongst the majority of AD plants. This session will highlight the next steps in ensuring digestate is properly utilised and discuss the latest policy and research developments which could kick-start this sector – ensuring AD plants continue on the trajectory of producing £100k worth of digestate matter per year by 2020.
Project results: DC-Agri and the benefits of AD as a renewable fertiliser
William McManus, Organics Sector Specialist, WRAP
Research and innovation in AD: can we be more strategic?
Dr David Tompkins, Bioresources Development Manager, Aqua Enviro
Utilisation of new tools to target phosphate application to meet crop demand 
Dr Ruben Sakrabani, Senior Lecturer – Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute, Cranfield University
14.45 - 15.15 Refreshments and exhibition
15.15 - 16.00
Session 4: Processing digestate - how can the industry reduce costs and increase upgrading?
Finishing the day will be a relaxed debate and learning session with one of the leading experts in the field of digestate and bioresources, Dr David Tompkins from Aqua Enviro. This session will explore the variety of digestate treatment techniques that have been used to date and identify which should be taken forward for priority research. The session will tackle leading questions such as: (1) What are the issues with digestate dewatering, does it differ from one type of digestate to another?; (2) Once de-watered, what are the options for handling / valorising the separated fractions?; and (3) Is it ever worth it?
Dr David Tompkins, Bioresources Development Manager, Aqua Enviro
Group discussion 
End of R&I Forum
If you have any questions or feel your work could make an important contribution to the discussion, please contact Ed Gavaghan.
For more information about the programme, you can read Ollie More's article here.