The names seem less settled than the markets or science: is it biogas, biomethane, renewable natural gas, or RNG? Whatever your preferred name, you don’t have to burn it to make it hot — methane of the kind generated from waste landfills and farm waste is on the march. And much of it propelled by the desire to do something, anything useful with the organic material piling up in landfills.
It’s been expanding geographically of late.
Bright Biomethane and Biogen Biotechnologies from the Caribbean Barbados entered a strategic partnership agreement to promote and further develop biogas upgrading technology and biomethane production in Barbados.
The Barbados background
All the waste in Barbados is currently separated by private handlers and most is stored at the landfill sites owned by the government. Biogen Biotechnologies processes waste from the food industry and uses it as feedstock for the biogas plants. This places Barbados at a great advantage. Using sustainable and smart solutions and technologies for waste transformation to energy, and other organic materials such as seaweed, sea moss and industrial waste, the island can benefit from an extended biogas network that can be transformed into transport fuel and electricity.
The produced biogas can not only be used for energy generation. The end-product of the Bright Biomathane process is biomethane, a methane-rich product gas, which can be injected into the national gas grid network or compressed to CNG properties and utilized as transport fuel.
Barbados, an island with over 284,000 inhabitants, is situated in the Lesser Antilles in the region of Caribbean. Due to its location, until recently, a focus of renewable energy policies was solar power. But Barbados faces many issues connected to waste generation. It is the third country in the world with the highest Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generation: 4.75 kg of MSW per capita/per day, according to the World Bank. This translates to around 1,000 tons of waste per day, of which 70% is organic. HoSt and Biogen Biotechnologies will work in close cooperation to actively promote biogas to biomethane upgrading systems.
Will landfills ban organic waste?
Dr. Sarah Mason-Renton at Lystek International thinks so. She writes:
States, provinces and municipalities across North America are increasingly taking regulatory action to either prohibit organic materials from being disposed of in landfills or they are ushering in mandatory waste recycling regulations. Jurisdictions who have implemented these policies in the U.S. include the states of California, New York, Connecticut and Vermont, and cities such as New York and Austin, among others.
In Canada, the movement is being spearheaded in places such as Vancouver, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. These jurisdictions have the highest diversion rates for organics. For example, Nova Scotia implemented a Solid Waste Management Strategy in 1995, which included the ban of organic materials in landfills. By 2011, 94% of households were composting food and yard waste, compared with less than 20% diversion in 1994.
Lystek is part of the solution. It has a low temperature, thermal hydrolysis process (Lystek THP) that produces a range of alternative products, and has helped North American generators divert over 1.6 million pounds of organics from landfills contributing to the circular economy. These products and processes include the LysteGro biofertilizer product, the LysteMize digester optimization process and LysteCarb, an alternative source of carbon for use in Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) systems.
What about all that plastic?
The marine plastic waste problem is more on everyone’s minds today. Good news on that from from Finland and VTT. The institute has developed a project called PlastBug a mobile container unit to remove plastic waste from ocean areas, in order to create a safe living environment. This year researchers in the PlastBug project have been searching microbes that are capable to degrade different kind of plastics (PE, PP, PS or PET) and developed methods for the pretreatment of plastics. Researchers are currently using a three-stage screening method to screen microbes from different sources.
The aim is to develop a small, container-based factory that can be placed in an area where centralized plastic waste collecting or recycling is not possible or feasible. The container can be located on a beach or ship. The factory unit would get most its energy needed for the process from solar energy and wind power.
A complete process is being engineered around the fermenting unit containing microbes – a small plant in which plastic is modified from waste to products. The aim is that the pilot unit will operate on the Baltic Sea in 2021, but funding still needs to be secured for the realization of this plan. The Plastbug team took second place in the Meriroska (Marine Litter) Challenge arranged by the Finnish Environment Agency on 25 August 2018.
RNG on the move
As we reported in August, RNG Energy Solutions and Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing LLC announced they have completed and executed several contracts including a long-term renewable natural gas sales agreement and site lease agreement to build a state-of-the-art anaerobic digester facility.
The facility will be named Point Breeze Renewable Energy (PBRE) and located at the PES Refining Complex. RNG Energy will develop and construct the $120 million anaerobic digester facility to produce renewable natural gas, which will be injected into the Interstate Pipeline and sold as a transportation fuel for bus and truck fleets. Permitting and construction of the project is estimated to take two to three years.
Organic waste consisting of grocery, restaurant and food processing wastes will be processed at offsite locations and delivered in fully enclosed tanker trucks to the PBRE facility. The facility will be designed to process up to 1,100 tons per day of diverted organic waste in eight bioreactors visually similar to the surrounding refinery tankage.
That was then, This is NOW! or The New Economics of Biogas Projects
Creating Value from Landfill Gas
By Dr. Terry Mazanec, Lee Enterprises Consulting
On the rise: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Biogas, its markets and production and treatment technologies
1+1=3: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Biogas Production With Mixed Feedstocks
What’s Next in cellulosic biofuels and biogas?: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Iogen
Value Days at the Landfill: The Digest 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to unlocking polylactic acid from waste biogas