Anaerobic digestion is a natural process which converts organic matter such as waste from food processing plants and supermarkets, household food, garden waste and farm slurry, into energy. The main products resulting from anaerobic digestion are biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide), which is very similar to natural gas, and digestate, a low level fertilizer. The biogas can be used to generate electricity, gas or heat (CHP), or compressed for use as a biofuel. The fertilizer is rich in nitrates and phosphates.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the process where plant and animal material (biomass) is converted into useful products by micro-organisms in the absence of air. Biomass is put inside sealed tanks and naturally occurring micro-organisms digest it, releasing methane that can be used to provide heat and power. This means AD can help reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The material left over at the end of the process is rich in nutrients so it can be used as fertiliser.
AD is not a new technology - it is an established technology in mainland Europe and the UK with a large number of plants in operation on industrial & municipal sites. In Ireland to date the advent of AD Plants has been primarily in the agricultural sector with some in the dairy & food industry as well.
Almost any biomass can be processed in AD and converted into renewable energy: food waste, energy crops, slurry, crop residues, etc. AD plants can accept waste from our homes, supermarkets, industry and farms, so less waste goes to landfill. However, woody biomass cannot yet be used in AD because the micro-organisms can't breakdown the lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength.
EnergyPoint can advise you on the feasibility of this type of energy recovery system as well as the planning, procurement and construction stages of such projects.
For further information on how we can assist you please contact us at info@EnergyPoint.ie