BioCycle November/December 2018
New York, New York: Energy Storage A $1.2 Trillion Investment Opportunity
The tumbling cost of batteries is set to drive a boom in the installation of energy storage systems around the world in the years from now to 2040, according to the latest annual forecast from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF). States a press release, the global energy storage market will grow to a cumulative 942GW/2,857GWh by 2040, attracting $1.2 trillion in investment over the next 22 years. Cheap batteries mean that wind and solar will increasingly be able to run when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Biogas operations generating electricity also can tap into this opportunity.
BNEF’s latest Long-Term Energy Storage Outlook sees the capital cost of a utility-scale lithium-ion battery storage system sliding another 52 percent between 2018 and 2030, on top of the steep declines seen earlier this decade — a big boost to the economic case for batteries in both the vehicle and the electricity sector. “We have become much more bullish about storage deployments since our last forecast a year ago,” says Yayoi Sekine, energy storage analyst for BloombergNEF. “This is partly due to faster-than-expected falls in storage system costs, and partly to a greater focus on two emerging applications for the technology — electric vehicle charging, and energy access in remote regions.” The forecast sees energy storage capacity “growing to a point where it is equivalent to 7 percent of the total installed power capacity globally in 2040.”
Boston, Massachusetts: Digester Developer Wins Organics Recycler Award
Vanguard Renewables was named 2018 Organics Recycler of the Year by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA). The award recognizes the substantial contribution that Vanguard’s “Farm Powered organics recycling and renewable energy production program” is making to protect the environment and advance the waste and recycling industry, noted the NWRA. “Our program is the first to vertically integrate the organics feedstock chain and farms to solve food waste challenges, generate renewable energy, and sustain farms,” said John Hanselman, founder and CEO of Vanguard Renewables, when accepting the award. He added that its operating portfolio of anaerobic digesters “represents the largest organics recycling destination in the Northeast with nearly 200,000 tons/year of combined on-farm and off-farm organics being processed.” In Massachusetts, by the end of 2018, Vanguard’s Farm Powered facilities will recycle and process 500 tons/day of food waste and 120 tons/day of manure from farms and food manufacturers, businesses and institutions. Generators diverting to the digesters include Gillette Stadium, MGM Springfield, Gorton’s Seafood, Cabot Creamery, Treehouse Brewing, Cape Cod Potato Chips, and Whole Foods.
Smithfield, Virginia: Smithfield Foods Announces “Manure To Energy” Plan
In October 2018, Smithfield Foods announced that it plans to invest in renewable natural gas infrastructure and provide farmers incentives to install manure lagoon covers and digesters on 90 percent of Smithfield’s total hog finishing capacity — a standardized measurement that excludes sow and nursery farms — in North Carolina, Missouri and Utah over the next 10 years. Farmers would take the step of converting existing anaerobic treatment lagoons to covered digesters or construct new covered digesters to capture biogas. Smithfield will be providing the infrastructure to condition the biogas and transport it to central processing facilities to be converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) for pipeline injection. Smithfield Foods has a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025. The “manure to energy” projects, when fully rolled out to 90 percent of total hog finishing capacity, are expected to capture more than 85,000 metric tons/year of methane, according to the company.
The devastation of Hurricane Florence focused national attention on North Carolina’s hog industry, the second largest in the country, where the vulnerability of open manure lagoons to heavy rainfall was evident. “Farmers and their neighbors anxiously watched the rainfall totals in their area, and 40 farms experienced lagoon overflows or breaches,” said Smithfield’s press release. “Following Hurricane Florence, farms with lagoon covers and digesters simply pumped the rainwater off covers after the storm and resumed normal operations.”
London, England: Great Britain Set For £400m Green Gas Boom
Up to £400 million ($520 million) is expected to be invested in 48 new biomethane plants in the UK by January 2020, raising the total number of operational facilities from 98 currently to 146. The figures are based on the number of applications to the U.K. Office of Gas and Electricity Markets for permission to operate the facilities. Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the U.K. Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, said developers are seeking to take advantage of changes implemented in May to the subsidies available through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. The tariffs were restored to a higher level and a guarantee was introduced allowing applicants to secure the rate before their project is commissioned and fully accredited. The guarantee will only apply to plants commissioned by January 31, 2020.
To help developers meet the deadline, the Energy Networks Association has launched a new biomethane connection code committing the gas distribution networks in Great Britain to introduce a standard connection process, sharing resources as much as possible, and providing full transparency over the resources available to deliver connections.