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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Proposed Research

CP422  Maximising energy recovery from anaerobic digestion Wastewater Treatment
Project Appreciation and Objectives

Investment in anaerobic digestion and co-digestion plants is increasing as the inherent opportunities for achieving energy capture and carbon reduction commitments are recognised.

In order to maximise the energy recovery and carbon reduction potential of anaerobic digestion and to avoid significant revenue losses, it is important that operational and process inefficiencies, leading to sub-optimal biogas production and reduced CHP output, can be identified and resolved.

This project will develop a biogas energy optimisation tool, based on best practice digester operation principles, to enable companies to estimate the maximum biogas production capability of individual digester plants. Actual performance can then be compared against the estimated achievable performance to highlight where investment in operational and/or process improvements would lead to increased biogas production and CHP performance.

The tool will be designed to:

  • Identify biogas production potential.
  • Determine energy production capability of digester CHP installations.
  • Identify reasons for shortfalls in energy production.
  • Enable reconciliation of mass balances.
  • Assess digester heat balances and determine optimum operating temperatures to maximise bio-gas output.
  • Highlight operational changes required to achieve maximum energy production.
  • Assessment of pre-digestion processes.
  • Allow the addition of further modules to extend boundaries to transport or other bio-solids processes.

Benefits to Clients

  • Allow Investment to be targeted to where the return will be greatest.
  • Improve performance of digesters and increase energy recovery.

Work Programme

  1. Working with the end-users, agree how the tool will be used, specify the boundaries of processes, set benchmark relationships, and specify outputs.
  2. Confirm what measurement, monitoring and analytical devices and methods are used and/or available to operators for asserting control, and assess how effective and reliable these are.
  3. Create and test optimisation model.
  4. Demonstrate finished tool and develop implementation plan.

Project Output

  • A biogas energy optimisation tool that estimates potential CHP and digester performance, highlighting operational and process changes needed for maximum biogas production.
  • Detailed guidance on use of the optimisation tool and review of monitoring methods.

Related Work

  • Pumps - Optimisation & replacement, CP348a, 2009-ongoing.
  • Comparing Energy Efficiency: Where are we good?, CP310, 2006-ongoing
  • Digestion plant - performance analysis, model and desk based assessments, UK Water Utility, 2008.,/li>

  • Adaptation of current IWA digestion model for food waste input, in association with Imperial College, 2009.
  • Carbon Accounting and Sustainability workbooks prepared for water industry, UKWIR, 2008.
WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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