BioCycle February 2015
Montpelier, Vermont: Grants For Clean Energy And Food Scraps Recycling
In January, the Vermont (VT) Public Services Department (PSD), in collaboration with VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and VT Agency of Natural Resources (VT ANR), awarded Clean Energy Development Fund grants in the amount of $139,000 to Casella Resource Solutions (Casella), and $131,549 to Grow Compost. Green Mountain Power also contributed $70,000 in refunded nuclear insurance monies to make the grants possible. Both Casella Resource Solutions and Grow Compost will use the funding to pilot collection of food scraps from businesses and institutions, and delivery to farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) systems in the state that produce heat and power. Casella will bring collected material to the AD facility at Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, while Grow Compost is delivering to Vermont Technical College’s AD system in Randolph.
“To meet our state’s energy needs, we need to find sources of sustainable and environmentally sound power,” states Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the PSD. “The Public Service Department is pleased to be able to support not only renewable energy generation, but also on-farm anaerobic digestion and food scrap recycling.”
Tjele, Denmark: Straw Pellets Boost Biogas Production
Using demonstration-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities, Denmark’s Innovation Network for Biomass (INBIOM) has demonstrated that adding 10 percent by weight of straw pellets to livestock manure could triple biogas yields.
INBIOM’s study notes that for a plant processing 100,000 tons of manure annually, biogas yields could be increased from 2.5 million cubic meters to 6.5 million cubic meters a year. The research was carried out as part of a project to support Denmark’s national target of processing 50 percent of its manure in biogas facilities by 2020. As it is considered an agricultural by-product, straw is unaffected by Danish plans to limit the quantities of purpose-grown crops in biogas plants’ feedstock.
Nairobi, Kenya: Slaughterhouse Digester And Biogas Sales
The pastoralist Maasai in Kenya are not known for leading a modern lifestyle, but their Keekonyokie slaughterhouse, just outside Nairobi, is demonstrating a 21st-century sensibility. All of the blood and waste from its operations go into a digester, producing enough electricity to power the meat cold room, meat processing equipment and hot water for sterilizing and washing the abattoir. Excess biogas is sold to local hotels, while the slurry becomes fertilizer for grazing pastures. With support from the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) and the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, a World Bank initiative, the slaughterhouse expects to sell its Keeko Biogas in portable 6-kg cylinders as early as March 2015.
Currently, the plant is capable of generating enough biogas per day to fill 100 such cylinders, and KIRDI and CIC are testing the cylinders and providing funds to upgrade the slaughterhouse with secondary biogas digesters that should triple its output, KIRDI officials told Reuters. Each cylinder should cost around Ksh700 ($8), half the cost of conventional liquefied (LP) petroleum gas. Before it started producing biogas in 2005, the Keekonyokie plant was spending Ksh 36,000 ($400) every week on waste disposal to meet standards set by the National Environmental Management Authority, Reuters reported.
A 2010 report by the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, found little biogas use in Kenya. But the country spends around $900 million a year on off-grid lighting, and fuel-based light sources are responsible for over 2.3 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, notes the UN Environment Program.