Exploring new market opportunities for AD outputs.
Our recent Anaerobic Digestion Special Interest Group (AD SIG) event provided an opportunity for AD operators to meet innovative technology and service providers who are focused on maximising revenues from high-value but underutilized AD outputs.
Beyond the energy incentives landscape
Technical Director at WRM organic waste consultancy and AD SIG working group member, Mark Richmond, set the scene for the event. Mark explored what the move away from AD plant development based on subsidised energy production could look like. The end of the feed-in tariff and the green gas support scheme closure in 2025 will see a tailing off of incentives based on energy production however new policy drivers are coming into place and therefore new innovation and market opportunities.
The Government’s decarbonisation targets towards net zero are key to the new market dynamics for AD. These policy drivers include reducing the carbon intensity of the agricultural and chemical sectors as well as introducing mandatory food waste collections for local authorities. Add rising prices of fertilizers and the underutilized nutrient value of digestate and a diverse range of new opportunities and challenges for the AD sector are emerging.
We invited four companies to share with us their innovative technologies and services to highlight how AD outputs can be maximised to generate new income streams whilst minimising the associated risks.
Addressing the underutilised nutrient profile of digestate CCm Technologies produce pelletised fertiliser from it. Their patented process captures carbon, which is then converted into calcium carbonate, and blended with recovered phosphorous and ammonia from wastewater, food, animal slurry, and digestate to create a fertiliser with a customisable nutrient profile. The production process generates 90% less carbon dioxide than that of traditional fertiliser, reduces on-farm ammonia use by 80%, and has the potential to reduce almost 50% of CO2 per tonne when using CCm fertilisers on a wheat crop.
BioCarbonics provide AD owners and operators, injecting Biomethane to grid, with a new opportunity to benefit from an innovative Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) model. The company’s technology enables AD operators to capture, process, and purify their CO2 stream to produce a food and beverage quality liquid CO2. In addition to this Biocarbonics provide a channel to market.
Utilising excess heat and carbon dioxide from AD to provide food security is one of the focus areas of District Eating. The company assesses the viability of horticulture development projects co-located with anaerobic digesters. Their innovative approach enables them to identify the potential for transforming excess heat into a new revenue stream and viable business opportunity.
Managing risks and new technologies
Installing bolt-ons to upgrade an AD facility can make a good business case but it is best to get input from legal and insurance teams before committing to infrastructure changes. Marsh Consulting presented insights into what measures need to be addressed before taking a new project forward to better use AD outputs to create new revenue streams.
It was evident that the speakers piqued the interest of the AD stakeholders attending the event. Following the presentations operators, technology providers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and bioeconomy consultants all engaged in a lengthy Q and A session that delved more deeply into the logistical and financial aspects of the new AD market opportunities. The conversations continued through a lively networking lunch sponsored by Marsh Consulting.
BioVale AD SIG – Networking and knowledge transfer
The AD SIG, now in its eighth year, provides a forum that supports the regional AD sector through facilitating knowledge exchange among stakeholders, providing opportunities to exchange specialist knowledge, addressing regional issues, supporting innovation, and catalysing collaborative projects. See here for more information about the AD SIG and how to join.
Members can access the event’s presentation slides here.
BioVale Stakeholder Engagement Manager