There is currently no quick and easy to use biological test to assess the digestibility of anaerobic digestion feedstock or for monitoring digester activity but such assessments are key to getting the best digester performance.
WRc has linked with a technology provider, to apply the protocol developed under a recently completed Portfolio project to a self-contained portable instrument to allow rapid on-site monitoring of the anaerobic digestion (AD) process. Biological tests provide a direct measure of biogas potential or residual biogas potential in both the feed and digestate and allow operators to push the digester closer to its limits, to maximise energy recovery and get early warning of instability that can take weeks to rectify.
This project will:
- adapt an existing technology to produce an off-line, easy to use AD control and monitoring system.
- undertake technology horizon scanning to identify additional systems that could improve the future operation and optimisation of AD.
BUSINESS BENEFITS TO CLIENTS
- Reduced risk of process failure through improved knowledge of feedstock characteristics.
- Enhanced energy recovery from timely knowledge of digester performance.
- Improved digester management through linkage of on-site data with a dynamic model.
- Improved investment decisions through better understanding of new monitoring technologies.
Portable, on-site AD monitoring:
- Apply the protocol to a new, portable, device supplied by the manufacturer, Speedy Breedy.
- Test a market available, two day bio-chemical activity kit which provides a measure of the activity of a respiratory pathway to correlate with biogas production.
- Carry out trials at operational sites or in close co-ordination with those sites.
- Produce a tracker to correlate on-site measurements to actual digester performance.
The future - rapid, <1 day testing:
- Identify and assess measurement methods that are emerging or established in other sectors.
- Identify how they might be applied now and in the future to practical AD monitoring.
PROJECT OUTPUT AND IMPLEMENTATION
- A device for on-site monitoring and control of AD for use by the process operator, with defined procedures, guidance and demonstrated examples of how it can be used to improve plant performance. Supporting case book of emerging on-line and off-line monitoring and analysis methods.
RELATED WRc WORK
- CP459 Development of a rapid test for Anaerobic Digestion,
- PAS110 – Revision including a discussion of RBP test application
- Joint sponsors of EPSRC study of NextGen Sequencing for Activated Sludge