A self-contained onsite farm waste solution, which uses a combination of biogas from anaerobic digestion and solar power, has been launched by Bioplex and Controllis, a global supplier of DC generator technology and hybrid energy power solutions
Bioplex is a UK based AD technology firm which has uses a pre-digester for the processing of farm and horse stable manures, claim that the hybrid system could not only reduce or eliminate electricity costs but even provide profits.
“Farmers face a real challenge dealing with both plant and animal waste. It seems crazy just to spread it, whilst losing nutrients to the atmosphere and watercourses, when it can easily be turned into electricity,” says Chris Reynell, Managing Director of Bioplex.
Farms by their nature tend to be in rural, often remote locations, so getting a reliable three phase mains supply to the site can be expensive and disruptive. The electricity also often comes with a higher than normal tariff, say Reynell.
“Farmers face higher electricity and fertiliser costs and waste storage and spreading that’s subject to more regulations and costs.
Bioplex and Controllis have solved both challenges,” he says.
Bioplex has developed a high throughput system which turns grass and energy crops and a wide range of animal and food waste into natural fertiliser and biogas. The recovered and stabilised fertiliser is re-used on the farm and the biogas generates electricity.
Due to its patented design, the Bioplex system occupies a low footprint and offers fast, easy deployment. The digester can use slurry, farmyard and horse stable manure, collected pasture toppings along with crop waste whilst simultaneously controlling parasites, pathogens, weeds and odour and minimising production of excess liquid.
The solid and/or liquid natural fertiliser is easy to use, and a major cost saving compared to conventional slurry spreading.
The Bioplex system is claimed to typically be 20 percent more efficient at biogas production and can remove non-fuel generating and damaging materials such as grit and sand. The system can also control biogas production down to a 30-minute period to provide clean, almost on-demand energy production.
For its part, Controllis provides the hybrid power solution: a biogas powered 12kW DC Genset generator, solar power arrays, battery bank and 75kW AC Mains Inverters. The system also provides cloud-based remote management and data analytics to enable farmers and landowners to understand, control and optimise system performance.
The on-site power can be used to run the farm (such as milking, pasteurisation, lighting, grain drying, cleaning, storage etc) and to provide power to local premises. The system is also metered and can feed back into the mains grid to generate additional revenues.
The Controllis generator technology is claimed to produce electricity more efficiently than conventional generators, reducing biogas use.
The solar arrays contribute to energy production and a dedicated battery provides power when no biogas is being produced. The result is said to be a highly reliable, very cost-effective way to generate power on-site.
“We chose to partner with Controllis because of their innovative approach and ability to efficiently link power generated from biogas with solar, wind and micro hydro – all renewable and low carbon energy sources,” explains Reynell.
Lance Davidson, Vice President of Engineering at Controllis, adds “All aspects of the system have been optimised to maximise energy production, recycle farm waste as effectively and efficiently as possible and minimise the impact to the environment.
“Ultimately, this means that farms can now be self-sufficient, provide their own independent, reliable power, save (and potentially make money on) electricity costs and reduce their carbon footprint.”
Extracted from an article in Waste Management World,a publication of the International Solid Waste Association