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H2AD-aFDPI Report Summary

Project ID: 698374

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - H2AD-aFDPI (H2AD - Innovative and scalable biotechnology using Microbial Fuel Cell and Anaerobic Digestion for the treatment of micro-scale industrial and agriculture effluents to recover energy from waste)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Catalysed by their activities as mechanical engineers to the UK water treatment, energy & manufacturing industries, Lindhurst Innovation Engineering (LIE) have developed H2AD - a novel micro-scale technology for the rapid & safe disposal of organic effluents. H2AD uses an efficient industrial biotechnology process to reduce the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the organic content & recover the energy from waste via conversion to hydrogen/methane rich biogas and fertiliser. The core technology underpinning H2AD is an integrated and modular closed loop Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC), based on a novel hybrid of traditional Anaerobic Digestion (AD) & conventional MFC technology. However, in contrast to existing MFCs, a microbial reaction with the potential for electrical stimulation is established in a completely anaerobic manner, realising a waste-to-energy (WtE) process with step-change in the time required to reduce the COD & total suspended solids (TSS) of organic waste streams to safe levels.

The innovation addresses the immediate requirement for a micro-scale effluent disposal technology, due to considerable feedstock volumes & biocomposition requirements of existing technologies such as AD. H2AD has been developed to target micro & small enterprises (μSE) generating waste with organic load beyond that accepted for disposal to sewer, & for which space is restricted, reducing the effluent storage & disposal costs by up to 70% & additionally recovering the energy in waste to further reduce production costs.

A principle feasibility project output was that disposal of organic waste streams is a key restriction on the productivity & profitability of the EU agri-food & drink processing industry (a-FDPI), which therefore presents the greatest opportunity for initial market capture. A predominance of micro & small enterprises (μSE) within the a-FDPI, makes H2AD commercially viable in a wide range of applications, for which no feasible micro-scale technology currently exists for the safe disposal of organic waste or recovery of energy from these effluent volumes. H2AD can uniquely address this challenge as well as recover some of the 288TWh of potential energy in the a-FDPI as hydrogen/methane rich biogas.

The feasibility study established measures of H2AD performance & extrapolated/modelled predicted payback periods from slurry-fed H2AD for waste streams from fruit drinks processing (<2yrs), dairy processing (<1.5yrs), microbreweries (<2.5yrs) and mixed agriculture (<3yrs). Detailed analysis of these markets – forming the basis of LIE’s elaborated business plan – demonstrated the potential for payback well within the critical payback period of 2.5 years for industry adoption of a new technology.
However, a number of commercially viable business models are capable of targeting these applications on a mass-market scale. Therefore, to precisely determine the commercial opportunity of each to inform a refined initial strategy & long term route to market replication, it is necessary to qualify and quantify the economic, technical & environmental impact of H2AD in the different key environments within the a-FDPI identified.

The overall aim of the Phase 2 project is to undertake the experimental development & field trials required to confirm the predicted accelerated payback performance of H2AD for treatment of organic effluents derived from different operational environments within the a-FDPI. LIE will further develop the process technology & biogas utilisation strategy to realise the technological potential for efficient removal of organic content from soft drink, brewery & dairy process effluents & waste water; slurry; & post-AD liquors, along with software/control aspects recognised to be critical to practical widespread implementation of H2AD.

The field trials will be carried out within a strong collaborative framework in Spain (AINIA – a-FDPI technology centre), Denmark (Aarhus University/Arla – AD Centre of Excellence), Ireland (IrBEA – Irish Biogas Energy Association) & UK (Castle Rock - Oakfield Farm) & will galvanise & quantitatively refine the LIE business model for initial market capture & medium to long-term strategies for widespread uptake & market replication. Publically disseminated technology delivered through these hubs alone will provide a direct commercial route to over 900 facilities in the EU a-FDPI.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Potential trial sites and facilitators were identified and assessed for their suitability and their impact on the project individually, considering feedstocks, industry sector growth potential for H2AD and future network potential. Once selected and mutually agreed upon, relationships were established with trial facilitators as well as end users to discuss and plan various feedstock options and outline design proposals.
Visits to each of the trial sites and with facilitators then took place to cement relationships, create plans and give more detail to each specific element of each individual trial site. Detailed plans and legal agreements were then drawn up for site specific operations with details of facilitator benefits and expectation of services provided tabulated together with separate agreements for trial end users.
A final design for the H2AD 30 trial units and software was decided upon with suitable parts and manufacturers being sourced. After facilitating preparations for the site, work commenced on manufacturing five H2AD 30 units which are nearing completion after some delay with manufacturing core unit containers and associated parts. Front and back end technology designs are being considered with some elements being manufactured now in readiness. All units are being tested concurrently, with preparations for CE marking and quality manuals seeing good progress and targets being met.
All trial sites have been supplied with a fully specified technical report with drawings describing all aspects of the trial with each party’s responsibilities clearly defined. Pre and post treatment facilities and system design have been discussed with all parties and agreed upon and included on the individual reports included in the evidence provided for Deliverable 1.2.
Factory acceptance tests have also begun on the near complete units ready for inclusion in the full technical manuals to be presented on supply to each site. These manuals will be expanded upon during testing periods detailing optimisation and any changes made to plant and software during the trials.

Claim Two update: All five H2AD demonstration units have been completely manufactured, tested and shipped to their destinations (Oakfield Farm – UK, Castle Rock – UK, Country Crest – Ireland, Ainia – Spain, Aarhus University – Denmark,) where they have been installed and commissioned. Each individual site has had a separate design specification to enable the H2AD Unit to be able to operate with the varied and challenging feedstocks selected. These designs have been manufactured along with sensoring and software packages and are in place and ready to start trials. Some sites are operating already with inoculum added to create bacterial growth in readiness to collect data.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

As the first six months have involved the sourcing of trial sites and the building of units, it is too early to comment on progress beyond the expected potential impacts of the project thus far.

Claim Two update: It is still to early to provide any information relating to expected impacts.

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