By Matt Hale, International Sales & Marketing Director, HRS Heat Exchangers
HRS welcomes the recent publication of the Biomass Policy Statement1 by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and hope that the forthcoming Biomass Strategy which is planned for 2022 will expand further on ways to increase the efficiency and environmental benefits of anaerobic digestion and the use of biogas not only as a sustainable, renewable and low-carbon energy source, but as an important aspect of improving soil health and helping agriculture to meet its own net-zero ambitions.
Much of the Policy Statement sets out the direction of travel for UK biomass policy and what to expect in next year’s Biomass Strategy, and as such lacks firm policy details in some areas, but it appears to be broadly positive for anaerobic digestion (AD). Commitments to review the amount of organic waste available, and to increase food waste collections, will increase potential feedstock supply and there is also recognition of the important role that AD can play in agricultural systems, both in terms of organic waste management and soil health.
Air quality and ammonia emissions from digestate are important issues, but it is important that the huge benefits that digestate can provide in terms of soil health and sustainable crop nutrition are not overlooked. Technology already exists to reduce ammonia and improve the nutrient content of digestate in the form of the HRS Digestate Concentration System (DCS) which, as well as reducing the volume of digestate by removing water, also turns ammonia into ammonium sulphate. The Biomass Policy Statement clearly suggests that such technology will need to become commonplace in AD plants.
It will also become increasingly important for biogas plants to be as efficient as possible in order to maximise the greenhouse gas savings (both carbon dioxide and methane). This means not only maximising biogas production and utilising carbon capture technology where possible, but also maximising the operational efficiency of items such as digester heaters, CHP systems and digestate treatment and pasteurisation.
With its complete range of technology, as a company HRS can help minimise energy use and increase process efficiency at every stage of the AD process: from digester heating using the HRS DTI Series of heat exchangers, to treatment systems like the HRS Digestate Pasteurisation System (DPS) and HRS Digestate Concentration System (DCS), through to the HRS Biogas Dehumidification System (BDS) and exhaust gas hear recovery.