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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - biowave (Upscale and demonstration of a integrated novel microwave pre-treatment system for efficient production of biogas from anaerobic digestion of pig manure to create a sustainable waste management system)

biowave Report Summary

Project ID: 691404

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - biowave (Upscale and demonstration of a integrated novel microwave pre-treatment system for efficient production of biogas from anaerobic digestion of pig manure to create a sustainable waste management system)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Generating biogas from pig slurry on its own is a challenging proposition. The design of pig farms typically lend themselves to storing slurry in tanks under the pig housing or in large lagoons. In these storage tanks the slurry will often sit for weeks or months and will naturally digest and generate methane, carbon dioxide and other gases. In order to treat slurry in a biogas plant, developers and farms construct large anaerobic digestion plants and co-mix the slurry with other feedstocks. These can be food waste, energy crops or grass. The challenge that Biowave is addressing is developing a sustainable anaerobic digestion system that operate on slurry alone and generates exportable biogas. The Biowave microwave unit treats slurry as part of the process. This enables greater availability of digestible organic matter which the anaerobic digestion process can convert to biogas more readily.
Pork is the most widely consumed meat product in the world and production is expected to increase by almost 40% in the next few decades. European pig farms produce over 1bn tonnes of methane rich manure per annum. In addition to this, pig farming emits around 700m tonnes of greenhouse gases per annum. Agriculture as whole emits 5bn tonnes, thus pig farming contributes about 13% of the overall Agriculture total. Novel and cost effective means for farmers to convert low value by-products such as slurry into renewable energy are important for society as a whole. The Biowave concept enables farmers to operate an anaerobic digester in a straightforward manner and generate increased biogas production which enables an attractive return on investment.
The overall objective is to scale the lab Biowave system to a commercially acceptable solution installed on a working farm. The microwave system will treat 5-10 tonnes of slurry per day and will be fully integrated with a pilot scale anaerobic digester to enable full end to end system validation.

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

The project commenced in April 2016 with a partner meeting in Waterford, Ireland where the project coordinator Ashleigh Farms (Environmental) is based. The requirements for each work package were discussed i.e. who was responsible, who was the lead beneficiary, who were the contributing beneficiaries and sub-contractors, what was required and most importantly timescales agreed. Following the meeting after further consideration Ashleigh Farms decided to propose the alternative farm located in Ballinameela, Cappagh as it offers much better flow, more products, 33 % greater capacity, and better ability to collect the slurry.
‘Formal’ technical meetings took place every three months where all beneficiaries and sub-contractors met. In addition to the formal technical meetings there have been a large number of bi-weekly and monthly meetings between the coordinator AFE and individual beneficiaries both in Ireland and the UK.

WP1 - The outline BioWave system has been specified. This specification can now be used to generate PFD and P&ID documentation, so that the system may be designed, component parts ordered and the prototype system built.
WP2 - An 18 kW microwave system was modelled, designed, and manufactured.
WP3 – The AD unit was designed suitable for commercial validation and a complete Bill of Materials was produced itemizing: Item description, Material, Number required, Power, Supplier and any comments in the form of notes.
WP4 - The sensors have been chosen to support each of the sub-systems being monitored and are tailored to each of these systems, being an experimental unit this system has more sensors than a production unit would, in order to monitor the changes that are expected to be made to the operation of this system in order to optimise the system.
WP5 - The microwave system was built and tested in terms of microwave measurement, temperature regulation, endurance and pressure. All the tests gave satisfying results.
WP6 – This task is ongoing however, the AD unit basic construction is completed
WP7 - Local Planning Permission has been granted by Waterford County Council

The following deliverables were achieved in P1:

D1.1 Requirements and specifications report

D2.1 CAD design of up-scaled rig

D2.2 Process flow diagram

D2.3 Production and Instrumentation Diagram

D2.4 System components ordered

D3.1 CAD design of AD system

D3.2 Process flow diagram

D3.3 Production and Instrumentation Diagram

D3.4 Bill of materials

D3.5 AD system components specified

D4.1 System sensor specification

D5.1 Built microwave reactor with control software implemented

D9.1 Ethics requirements

As of end of P1 a fully integrated pilot plant has been designed and part manufactured and constructed. The microwave treatment will be piloted in late 2017 with a full 6-month trial period also planned.

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)

Socio-economic impacts already include knowledge creation of renewable energy and biogas production within the local communities and the supply chain of the project partners, the realised potential to create a new market for farm-scale biogas plants using novel microwave treatment processes and a real interest from regional and national development agencies on the Biowave concept.

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