5MW waste to biomethane for grid injection project nears completition on Isle of Wight

Schmack Biogas UK is nearing completion on an anaerobic digester that will produce biomethane for grid injection from a combination of agricultural organic wastes and energy crops on the Isle of Wight, just off England’s south coast.

The company, a subsidiary of German firm Schmack Biogas – itself a part of the Viessmann Group – explained that the facility is configured for an output of 5 MW equivalent of biomethane gas that will be injected into the island’s grid. There is however a 250 kW combined heat and power unit to supply its own energy demand. Schmack added that it is on course to complete the facility, which is being developed in partnership with Wight Farm Energy by spring this year. Wight Farm Energy is an association made up of seven landowners and a producer and trade group for cereals.

The plant is being built at Gore Cross, Arreton, just west of the centre of the island and has been designed to fit in with the Unlike conventional AD plants, biogas produced at this first Isle of Wight facility will be processed into biomethane, which has the same quality as natural gas, enabling it to be fed into the island’s existing gas network.

According to Schmack, once operational the plant will produce some 4.25 million m³ of biomethane from renewable raw materials comprising of mainly agricultural wastes, as well as maize silage, grass silage and whole crop silage. The company added that the project helps some of the Isle of Wight’s largest farm holdings to secure a future from unprofitable break crops, which are secondary crops grown to interrupt the repeated sowing of cereals as part of crop rotation.

The plant will utilise Schmack’s mixing technology, which the company claimed enables the plant to be flexible in regards to the range of inputs. As well as biomethane for grid injection the plant will also produce fertiliser as separated soil residue for farmland.

Decisions decisions …

According to Michael Groth, head of sales at Schmack Biogas, while there are some extra logistics involved with the Gore Cross project being on the Isle of Wight, the thoughest challenge was securing governmant approval for subsidies.

“The most formidable challenge encountered during the construction period has been the very prolonged decision of the DECC (Department Of Energy and Climate Change) over the RHI (Renewable Heat Initiative) for AD and Gas to Grid injection,” he said. “By upgrading the gas and feeding it into the natural gas grid, it is utilised where it can be done so most efficiently and effectively,” continued Groth. “It is also removes the dependency on fossil fuel by using renewable input materials and agricultural waste that would otherwise be going to landfill”.

Schmack added that the Isle of Wight latest installation by follows its contract to design and build a new 2000 Nm³/h processing plant just south of Stockholm. According to the company, by early this year that development will see the Swedish capital increase its proportion of biomethane by 50%, utilising Schmack Carbotech’s Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) principle to help produce biofuel in vehicles powered by natural gas.

Source: Waste Management World