Biomass - Using Anaerobic Digestion
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There are several key legislative documents that apply to Biogas plants, both on an EU and UK scale.
The EU Landfill Directive requires Member States to develop strategies for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, with the objective of reducing local water and air pollution, and emissions of global greenhouse gases caused by the degradation of organic wastes in landfill sites. Furthermore, it establishes strict targets for reducing the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) disposed of to landfill. BMW is municipal waste of organic nature i.e. that is capable of undergoing aerobic or anaerobic decomposition.
For all countries criteria are set using 1995 waste data figures. For the UK the following targets are set:
To achieve this will require vast changes in the collection, separation and treatment of biodegradable waste. In Scotland in 2002 only 3% of Municipal Solid Waste arisings (MSW) were composted with 91% of all MSW going directly to landfill. (National Waste Plan 2003- SEPA).
One further aspect of this document is that the cost of landfilling is to include all the costs involved with construction, operation and decommissioning (over a 30 year period), which will greatly increase the cost of landfilling as a waste management option in the coming years.
Thus the actions as set forth in the Landfill Directive should act as a major incentive in the utilization of AD for the treatment of BMW.
Adopted 1 May 2003
This is a regulation covering the treatment of Animal and Catering Waste. National Animal By product Strategies are to be adopted in each Member state in accordance with this document. Three categories of waste are defined:
Category 1 material
High risk- animal by-products presenting a TSE risk or an unknown risk or a risk related to treatment with illegal substances or to environmental contaminants.
Category 2 material
Medium risk- animal by-products presenting risk related to animal diseases or residues of veterinary drugs.
Category 3 material
Low risk- animal by-products derived from healthy animals.
Only Category 3 material is permitted for direct use in Biogas and AD systems to prevent disease and pathogen transmission. Category 2 material is permitted if it has first been pressure rendered to 133°C/3bar/20 minutes.
Regulations Applicable to Biogas & AD
In accordance with this document there are certain requirements for AD systems.
Operators of Biogas AD plants shall be obliged to implement and maintain a permanent procedure developed in accordance with the principles of the system of hazard analysis and critical control points(HACCP). Under this system they should
(a) Identify and control the critical control points in the plants.
(d) Record the results of the checks and tests referred to in points (b)
and (c) and keep them for a period of at least two years for presentation to the competent authorities
Enacted Oct 2003 – National Regulations in compliance with EU Animal By Products Regulation.
In relation to Biogas and AD plants, there is further definition on the cleaning and reception areas within a plant:
Due Sept 2004
The EU Commission has given a commitment that by the end of the year 2004 a Directive on Biowaste, including catering waste, will be prepared with the aim of establishing rules on safe use, recovery, recycling and disposal of this waste and of controlling potential contamination.
It has now been decided to make the development of this proposal a revision of the Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EEC and for a Directive on the biological treatment of biodegradable waste an integral part of the multi-stakeholder process accompanying the development of a fully fledged Soil Thematic Strategy expected to be adopted in September 2004.
The value of recapture of nutrients from organic waste, and its recycling to agricultural land, had now been highlighted as a key area in need of proper legislation within the EU.
If the directive goes ahead as proposed in the draft document, there will be a requirement on member states to collect Biowaste separately and minimise disposal to landfill through an integrated waste management scheme. Investment in and creation of an integrated waste management market shall be promoted and required within a legislative document under this directive.