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CONTENT

1 PREFACE........................................................................................................................... 2

2 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................ 2

3 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................................. 3

3.1 Feasibility .................................................................................................................... 3

3.2 Problems ..................................................................................................................... 4

3.3 Further considerations ................................................................................................ 4

4 PROCESS DESCRIPTION ................................................................................................ 5

5 CALCULATION OF IN- AND OUTPUT .............................................................................. 6

5.1 Notes to calculations ................................................................................................... 6

5.2 Feedstock.................................................................................................................... 6

5.3 Biogas yield ................................................................................................................. 7

5.4 Operating parameters ................................................................................................. 7

5.5 Digester design ........................................................................................................... 7

5.6 Energy consumption ................................................................................................... 8

5.7 CHP and output........................................................................................................... 8

5.8 Vehicle parameters ..................................................................................................... 8

5.9 Investment cost ........................................................................................................... 8

6 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... 9

7 SOURCES OF INFORMATION ......................................................................................... 9

7.1 Anaerobic digestion..................................................................................................... 9

7.2 Biogas upgrading technology.................................................................................... 10

7.3 Biogas as vehicle fuel ............................................................................................... 10

8 APPENDIX 1 .................................................................................................................... 11

9 APPENDIX 2 .................................................................................................................... 12

Mayo Energy Agency, The Quay, Ballina, Co. Mayo


Tel: 096 74034, Fax: 096 72950, e-mail: mayonrg@eircom.net

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1 PREFACE

Numerous studies in Ireland and other European countries have shown the feasibility
and benefits of anaerobic digestion (AD) as a means to treat agricultural and other
organic waste. The objective of this report is, firstly, to determine the energy gained by
an AD treatment process in a hypothetical facility in Ballina, Co. Mayo. The resulting
figures are intended to highlight the opportunity of utilising this energy as alternative
vehicle fuel. This innovative means of biogas utilisation is being introduced on large
scales in several Swedish towns, where hundreds of cars and buses operate on
biogas. Although the technical feasibility of these facilities is undisputed, the major
barrier for implementation is still the cost of both - investment and low fossil fuel prices.
[5] However, due to design improvements investment costs are reduced and therefore
implementation of this technology is becoming more attractive.

2 INTRODUCTION

The Waste Management Plan for Connaught Region and the underlying National
Waste Policy as well as EU legislation require among other things the management of
agricultural waste (nutrient management, reducing the potential of pollution from
wastes), a minimum of 65% reduction in biodegradable waste consigned to landfill and
the development of waste recovery facilities employing environmentally beneficial
technologies.

In the Connaught region more than 10 million tons of agricultural and municipal organic
waste are produced annually and need to be managed under the above-mentioned
obligations.

Various methods and technologies are available to meet these obligations. The method
outlined in this proposal will be capable of treating agricultural and municipal organic
waste by means of anaerobic digestion in a centralised plant. Anaerobic digestion
produces a digestate that has a balanced nutrient content, is free of pathogens and
therefore suitable for land application. The process furthermore has the benefit of
producing biogas, a valuable source of alternative energy. There are many advantages
when using biogas as fuel:

¨ Biogas is one of the least environmentally stressful fuels


¨ Biogas fuelled vehicles produce low emissions
¨ The biogas is locally produced
¨ A waste problem is converted into a resource and thereby a number of associated
problems such as odour, emissions and sanitation in the local environment are solved
at the same time.

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3 CONCLUSIONS

3.1 Feasibility

Due to the vast amounts of agricultural waste produced in Ireland a treatment by


anaerobic digestion in a centralised plant generally is an advantageous option. A facility
in Ballina could manage a major part of agricultural waste produced in its vicinity and all
organic municipal waste generated in Co. Mayo. Table 1 shows for three different
catchment areas (see map in appendix 1) the amounts of waste that could be treated
and the flow of recovered biogas that could be utilised:

Table 1:
Catchment Catchment Total Biogas Upgraded Potential
1
radius area for feedstock output biogas mileage
agriwaste input output
2 3 3
km km t/year m /h m /h km/day
10 236 29 483 143 79 4 716
15 530 63 748 287 153 9 180
20 942 111 719 489 257 15 404
1 3
truck with a consumption of 0.4m /km

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A catchment area of 530 km would provide ~64 000 t/year of feedstock. This would
produce 95 t/day of fibrous matter to be used as soil conditioner and 196 t/day of liquid
fertiliser for land application. Part of the recovered biogas would be used to drive the
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process, while the rest (~200 m /h) would be sufficient to operate the municipal
garbage trucks and additional vehicles (e.g. other local authority vehicles, taxis, buses).

The number of deliveries to and from the AD facility would be around 20 per day, which
wouldn't represent a considerable increase in today's traffic. As garbage trucks and
other vehicles would run on biogas - which is environmentally less stressful than fossil
fuel - even an improvement in the local overall emissions load could be achieved.

An AD plant in Ballina with more than 110 000 t/year of feedstock input would result in
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a biogas yield of more than 490 m /h, enough to operate a fleet of more than 100
vehicles. On the other hand, such a facility would require a digester volume of 4x4000
3
m - a size unmatched so far.

As a result, the appropriate plant size would have to be matched with transportation
requirements for feedstock and the potential consumption of biogas (vehicle fuel
respectively) and digestate (fibrous matter and liquid fertiliser).

In conclusion, an AD plant with a capacity of 30 000 to 60 000 t/year would represent a


suitable solution for the treatment of organic waste in northern Mayo, as well as a
valuable source of alternative fuel (CO2-neutral) for the expanding district of Ballina. It
has also to be mentioned that an AD process saves ~50% of the methane emissions

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normally emitted during storage of slurry and therefore indicates a significant potential
to reduce GHG emissions form the farming sector. [10]

3.2 Problems

¨ The feedstock input is based on some estimations and assumptions. To determine a


more accurate feedstock potential and the resulting size of an AD facility, a more
thorough survey needs to be carried out.

¨ The upgrading of biogas to vehicle fuel is a relatively recent and complex technology
and therefore investment costs are high. However, the technology is proved and with
design improvements, these costs will be reduced. At the present time subsidies will
still be necessary to implement such a facility.

3.3 Further considerations

¨ The most common means of biogas utilisation is the generation of electricity and/or
heat due to the comparatively high cost of an upgrading system and the necessary
infrastructure of filling stations and vehicles driven by biogas. The use of the recovered
biogas to generate electricity has to be considered, although the price could not
compete in the current electricity market. Furthermore, a suitable consumer for the
generated heat in the vicinity of the plant would have to be found.

¨ The biogas output and consequently the vehicle fuel supply differ widely between
summer and winter (due to the housing of cattle). One option to increase the biogas
output during the summer to the winter level would be the co-digestion of energy crops
such as grasses, hay, maize and other, which also have a higher gas production rate
than waste. [8]

¨ Waste from food processing industries (e.g. dairies, abattoir) as well as sewage sludge
are not included in this calculation, but could represent a valuable source of additional
feedstock for this AD facility.

¨ A further option of biogas utilisation would be to feed the upgraded biogas into a
potential natural gas grid and in this way providing individual households with energy.
This could also be implemented on a small scale with separate piping at a nearby
housing estate.

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4 PROCESS DESCRIPTION

A centralised anaerobic digestion plant could have the following basic layout:

Combined heat and


power engine
Biogas Biogas
CHP
storage upgrading

Pasteurisation
tank
Compressing
1h at unit
70 °C
20 °C 50 °C

Mixing and storage


Biogas
of delivered feedstock
cleaning

Filling
25 days station
at 37 °C

25 °C

Digestate storage Digester

An AD facility consists mainly of a


¨ reception area and a storage tank for the feedstock,
¨ pasteurisation unit,
¨ reactor where the decomposition takes place,
¨ effluent storage tank,
¨ biogas cleaning and upgrading equipment and a
¨ CHP unit for electricity and heat generation.

The incoming agricultural and organic municipal waste will at first be homogenised and
then pumped into the pasteurisation tank. In this unit the feedstock will be heated up to
70 °C in order to kill all pathogens that could be brought in with the slurry. The waste is
then pumped into the main reactor where it will be mixed at 37 °C for approximately 25
days. During this time the organic matter will be degraded to produce biogas. The
resulting digestate will finally be separated into a solid and a liquid fraction for further
use as compost and fertiliser.

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In order to utilise the recovered biogas as a vehicle fuel it has to be cleaned (removal of
H2S), dried and upgraded (CO2 removal). The CHP unit will utilise part of the biogas to
produce thermal and electrical energy, which in return will heat the digester and drive
the necessary machinery.

5 CALCULATION OF IN- AND OUTPUT

The calculations illustrated in appendix 2 show the amount of alternative vehicle fuel
that could be produced by a given input of agricultural and organic municipal waste. To
show the in- and outputs of different plant scales three scenarios with three different
catchment areas are given.

5.1 Notes to calculations

First, it has to be mentioned that the information on which this calculation is based on
comes from diverse sources of different countries and may therefore not be applicable
to an AD facility in Ireland. Several assumptions had to be made due to different
process designs available, hence major alterations could be necessary for the
realisation of such an AD plant. However, the actual in- and output data will be in the
range of these calculations.

5.2 Feedstock

This anaerobic digestion facility is designed to treat agricultural waste from cattle,
poultry or pig farms and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The feedstock
calculation for agricultural and municipal organic waste is based on estimated figures
published in the National Waste Database 1998 [2], [3].
To determine the amount of agricultural waste that could serve as feedstock, different
assumptions for each category are made [3]:

¨ The figure given for cattle slurry and manure represents the amount produced during
the housing season of 20 weeks. (All further calculations are valid just for this period.)
As many farms are too small or too remote for collection, it is supposed that only 10%
of all generated waste could be used as feedstock.
¨ For pigs and poultry it was assumed that all the slurries and litter produced are
collected.
¨ The potential feedstock of the organic fraction of urban municipal solid waste is
assumed to be 50 % of the amount actually produced.
¨ Sheep and horse manure are excluded from this calculation, due to the fact that they
are not housed or have a very short housing season.
¨ Dairy processing residues constitute a major proportion of agricultural waste, but as
these are generated locally in big amounts, it would be reasonable to treat them on the
spot. Therefore, these wastes are excluded from this calculation.

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The amount of waste to be collected is based on the assumption that agricultural waste
arises equally over 3/4 of Irelands land mass; it follows that the catchment of waste is
dependant on the area. As it is financially viable to transport animal waste just up to
~20 km [4], a corresponding catchment area and subsequently the amount of feedstock
can be determined.

Assumed that the proposed AD facility would have a theoretical catchment radius of 15
km it would hence be possible to treat about 64 000 t/year of animal waste produced on
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530 km around Ballina.

5.3 Biogas yield

The biogas yield is derived from the content of volatile solids (VS, organic matter that is
biodegradeable) in the waste. The figures for the total solids (TS) content, the volatile
solid content and the specific biogas yield are based on research undertaken by the
Institute for Agrobiotechnology Tulln, Austria [1]. Some of this data varies considerably
and therefore mean values are given. As the corresponding figures for sheep manure
and other animal waste aren't available, they are excluded from this calculation. For the
organic fraction of municipal solid waste figures for food remains are taken.

The hourly biogas yield is calculated by multiplying the feedstock input per day with the
percentage of TS and VS and the specific biogas yield. During the summer months the
yield will be ~50% of the amount of biogas produced during the winter season.

5.4 Operating parameters

¨ The energy content of Biogas is derived from the calorific value of methane, which is
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35.9 MJ/m .
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¨ As the total solid content of the feedstock is less than 10%, a density of 1000 kg/m is
assumed.
¨ The biogas yield is dependent on the retention time and the temperature at which the
digestion takes place. A long retention time maximises the biogas output but results in
a larger digester volume. The values in this calculation are according to those in
existing AD plants. To optimise the biogas yield they could be subject to alterations.
The same applies to the pasteurisation process.

5.5 Digester design

¨ The number of reactors is assumed; the maximum size of an individual digester is


limited due to capital cost. Fewer and bigger reactors have a smaller surface area and
therefore require less energy to maintain the internal temperature.
¨ The calculated height includes 20% additional volume for gas accumulation.

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5.6 Energy consumption

¨ Power lost through walls is calculated for a standard insulation


¨ Electrical power consumption for the upgrading process is according to a biogas yield
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of ~200m /h. [6]
¨ Energy consumption for the process includes heating of reactors and electrical power
consumed by upgrading facilities; it does not include the power consumption for the
mixing devices and other machinery. The whole facility would consume 30 to 50 % of
the recovered energy, depending on the installed machinery.
¨

5.7 CHP and output

¨ The biogas and power input into the CHP are calculated from the heat energy require-
ment for the reactors.
¨ The thermal energy produced by the CHP plant is required to heat up the feedstock to
pasteurisation temperature.
¨ All electricity generated by the CHP plant will be used for ancillary machinery required
at the AD plant.
¨ The remaining biogas is upgraded by CO2 removal, which will increase the Methane
content from 70% to 97%.
¨ The calculation also shows the potential power output if all recovered biogas would be
utilised via CHP.
¨ The degassed, digested slurry is separated into a solid and a liquid fraction as it
provides a valuable fibrous matter (to produce compost with other biomass) and a
liquid fertiliser, which is suitable for land spreading.

5.8 Vehicle parameters

Figures are given for a Volvo garbage truck with 15-18 t loading capacity, 205 hp
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engine, 500 litre gas bottles (200 bar). The methane consumption of 0.4 m /km STP is
derived from the gas storage capacity of the vehicle and the average km-range per
filling. [7]

5.9 Investment cost

A similar AD plant as proposed in this report was built in1996 in Linkoping/Sweden. It


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has a waste treatment capacity of ~100 000 t/year and produces 400 m /h of upgraded
biogas. The total investment costs of this facility were 9 million Euro (~7 million IR£) of
which the decomposition section amounted to 6 million Euro and the gas section to 3
million Euro. [9]

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6 REFERENCES

[1] Steffen R., Zolar O. and Braun R.; Feedstock for Anaerobic Digestion; Institute for
Agrobiogtechnology Tulln, Austria; 1998
[2] Draft Waste Management Plan Connaught Region; September 1999
[3] National Waste Database, EPA: 1998
[4] Anaerobic Digestion, Good Practice Guidelines: British BioGen, UK; 1999
[5] Mansson Tommy, Swedish efforts in integrating bio-fuels as alternative fuels for
transportation in buses, lorries and cars, Jarfalla, Sweden; 1998
[6] Schulte-Schulze Berndt, A.; Carbotech Anlagenbau GmbH; personal contact
[7] Stridsberg J.; Volvo Trucks Sweden; personal contact
[8] Stewart D.; Energy Crops to Methane, Anaerobic Digestion, Applied Science
Publishers; 1980
[9] Dahmen G., Tekniska Verken, Linkoping, Sweden; personal contact
[10] Strategy for Anaerobic Digestion, Development in Ireland; Irish Bioenergy
Association; July 2000

7 SOURCES OF INFORMATION

7.1 Anaerobic digestion

¨ Technoeconomic Data for Anaerobic Digestion Plants; http://europa.eu.int; 2000


¨ Braun R., Institute of Agrobiotechnology Tulln, Austria; personal contact
¨ Gruberger, Christpher, Swedish Institute for Agricultural Engineering;
http://www.jti.slu.se
¨ Planning a Biogas Plant, Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology,
GATE in GTZ GmbH, Germany; http://www.gtz.de
¨ Harris Paul, Beginners Guide to Anaerobic Digestion, University of Adelaide, Australia;
http://www.roseworthy.adelaide.edu.au/~pharris/biogas/beginners
¨ Bio-Covergaerungsanlage Radeberg, Germany; http://www.bio-covergaerung.de
¨ Boxer-Infodienst: Regenerative Energie; http://www.boxer99.de/
¨ James & James World Renewable Energy Suppliers and Services;
http://www.jxj.com/suppands/renenerg/az/56.html
¨ Internet Conference on Integrated Biosystems;
http://www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs
¨ Waste, Methane Capture and Use; http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/pubs/methane/
¨ Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering;
http://www.jti.slu.se/jtieng/index.htm
¨ AD-NETT, The Anaerobic Digestion Network; http://www.ad-nett.org/
¨ CADDET, Renewable Energy; http://www.caddet-re.org/

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7.2 Biogas upgrading technology

¨ Martens O., Haase Energietechnik GmbH, Germany;


http://www.haase-energietechnik.de
¨ McElvaney J., McElvaney Associates Corporation, Marietta GA, USA; personal contact
¨ Biogas Works;http://www.biogasworks.com

7.3 Biogas as vehicle fuel

¨ Schnell R., BiogasDE; personal contact


¨ Sunnerstedt Eva, The Environment and Health Protection Administration, Stockholm,
Sweden; eva.sunnerstedt@environment.stockholm.se
¨ West Virgina University, Description of LPG as a motor fuel;
http://wwwcira.wvu.edu/afutp/AFV_proprev.html
¨ Egger Kurt, Kompo-Mobil:Biogasnutzung in Fahrzeugen, Bern, Switzerland, September
1999; arbi@biogas.ch
¨ ZEUS - Zero and Low Emission in Urban Society;
http://www.zeus-europe.org/main.html

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8 APPENDIX 1

Illustration of catchment radiuses for an AD facility in Ballina:

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9 APPENDIX 2

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