NNFC, CNG Services to assess feasibility of biogas networks

By NNFCC | May 08, 2013

The Waste & Resource Action Programme has awarded funding to a partnership between bioeconomy consultants NNFCC and biomethane injection specialists CNG Services to assess the feasibility of developing biogas networks in the U.K.

NNFCC and CNG Services will work in partnership to assess the feasibility of biogas networks in the U.K., using a group of Cheshire farmers as a test case.

Biogas networks offer small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) developers the opportunity to combine their resources to cut the cost of selling gas to the national grid.

Lucy Hopwood, head of biomass and biogas at NNFCC, said, "Many farmers are interested in anaerobic digestion but don't want to go it alone, the idea of a hub of farms feeding the national grid with low carbon gas is therefore attractive."

"Developing biogas networks could be an important way of getting more farmers involved in anaerobic digestion, which will benefit the rural economy and improve farm resource efficiency, such as nutrient and water management. It could also provide a major boost to the renewable heat market, helping to displace the use of fossil fuels," she added.

The feasibility study will look at the feedstock and technology options, as well as the viability of a number of business models, health and safety requirements, ownership of the infrastructure and regulations that could be barriers to the development.

The partnership between NNFCC and CNG Services already has the backing of the National Grid, Arla Foods Ltd. and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, as well as Honesty Food Ltd.; a consortium of dairy farmers in West Cheshire.

John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services Ltd, said, "The use of biogas networks and a central gas upgrading plant can provide a highly efficient way to reduce the carbon footprint of the dairy sector and we welcome interest in this concept."

The feasibility study funding was awarded as part of WRAP's Driving Innovation in Anaerobic Digestion program which helps to take technologies, concepts or modifications, which have the potential to advance the operation and outputs of anaerobic digestion at all scales, to actual market penetration.