WIT Press


INSIGHTS AND ISSUES IN THE UPTAKE AND DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED ANAEROBIC DIGESTION WITHIN THE UK WATER INDUSTRY

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SDP170681

Volume

226

Pages

10

Page Range

783 - 792

Published

2017

Size

397 kb

Author(s)

ANDREW GOODING, COLIN A. BOOTH

Abstract

This study explores the uptake and growth of Advanced Anaerobic Digestion (AAD) within the UK water industry to reveal the drivers and challenges the water companies are facing towards aiding the UK Government to reach its renewable energy targets. AAD was developed to replace anaerobic digestion (AD) and increase cleaner biogas production and to decrease sludge volume and widen the application of bio-solids as fertilisers so that they can be used on all crops, therefore hugely decreasing waste sent to landfill. A mixed-methods approach of surveys and semi-structured interviews was targeted at the energy managers of each of the UKs water companies. Results reveal that industry professionals consider that AAD plays a key role within the water industry and significantly contributes to government targets regarding renewable energy production. The findings attest that government incentives do not promote future investment in AAD plants and water companies are investing for operational benefits. The current incentives advocate combining food and sewage waste in the construction of new food digestions plants, which is not only very costly, but also the construction of these plants has a large environmental impact, when existing systems could be utilised. The work highlights the main implications of investing into AAD and how the government incentives hindered the uptake from the water industry, therefore meaning a waste of potential energy that could have been harvested, which would have contributed to meeting the government targets.

Keywords

water companies, renewable energy, thermal hydrolysis, carbon footprint