Keep It Clean - How Can Anaerobic Digestion Provide My Business with Cheaper, Cleaner Energy?

Posted by Clare Burns on 14-Jul-2015 09:00:00

UK food and drink manufacturers can make significant savings in energy costs and CO2 by generating on-site renewable energy, via anaerobic digestion.

 

How_can_Anaerobic_Digestion_Provide_my_Business_with_Cheaper_Cleaner_Energy_UK food and drink manufacturing is targeting a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Food production sites can make significant savings in energy costs and CO2 by generating on-site renewable energy.

Organic food waste which is uneconomic to recycle and is normally transported to landfill can be used in a process known as anaerobic digestion, from which methane-rich biogas is produced and used to generate renewable energy.

 

Simple process schematic for anaerobic digestion

chpblogchart

 

Anaerobic digestion is a four-stage process of:

  • Hydrolysis
  • Acidification
  • Acetogenesis
  • Methanogenesis

 

Organic feedstock is broken down in a heated digester tank by the process bacteria and biogas is produced. The biogas can be used as:

  1. Boiler fuel
  2. For greater efficiencies - as the fuel for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit which generates electricity and heat for on-site use.

 

Anaerobic digestion and biogas CHP units can provide UK food manufacturers with a sustainable, carbon-neutral source of clean, cheap renewable energy:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by using carbon derived from an organic source with a short carbon cycle.

  • Avoidance of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by capturing and using  methane in the food waste, that would otherwise end up in landfill.

  • Displaced energy costs associated with conventional energy from fossil fuels.

  • Reduced costs and emissions associated with the transport of waste.

 

Anaerobic digestion can produce other important by-products:

  • Digestate: expired process feedstock can be used as a high-quality biofertiliser or soil conditioner.

  • Biomethane: upgraded biogas can be injected into the national gas grid or compressed for use as transport fuel.

These can both provide additional revenue streams for your business.

 

Takeaways:

Things to think about:

  • Your business might be able to use anaerobic digestion to generate its own clean, cheap renewable energy from food waste

  • Anaerobic digestion can provide your business with additional income from digestate and biomethane by-products.

  • Anaerobic digestion can enable your business to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

 

For more information on the benefits of anaerobic digestion for your business, download our free eGuide: An Introduction to Biogas for the Energy Manager

An Introduction to Biogas for the Energy Manager

Topics: Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas, Food and Drink Manufacturing

Clare Burns

Clare Burns is a technical marketer with many years’ experience in the energy arena, as well as in fashion, telecoms and education. Fluent in 3 languages, Clare has worked across Europe. She currently works for ENER-G, a UK manufacturer of carbon reducing, energy efficient products exporting its cogeneration technology across the globe.