Excitingly, our trial with the United Utilities Innovation Lab has reached its conclusion – meaning we can now share the results!
The United Utilities Innovation Lab offers companies an opportunity to test products in real-world environments before taking them to market, and in early 2021, we joined to test and develop our product Evogen Biogas Additive. The product uses specially selected microbes to aid anaerobic digestion, reduce sludge and generate more renewable energy.
We first heard about UU’s Innovation Lab through an existing relationship with the Facilities Management side of the business as they utilise our eco-benign® Evogen Professional probiotic cleaning range at their headquarters.
Genesis applied to take part in the Innovation Lab with the new product Evogen Biogas Additive – as the benefits of the technology aligned very strongly with the bioresource category of the Innovation call, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to investigate the feasibility of the technology for the UK municipal wastewater treatment market.
What is Biogas and why is it important?
Anaerobic digestion, which produces Biogas, is fast becoming an integral part of the wastewater treatment process among local authorities and private companies. The ability to use microorganisms to produce methane-rich biogas from sewage sludge and organic waste matter offer the potential to produce heat and electricity from an ever-present and growing waste source.
Through the AD process, specialised microbes interact in the absence of oxygen to break down the organic components of sludge and waste to facilitate biogas production. The AD system therefore greatly decreases the final volume of the original sludge or waste to be disposed of whilst yielding energy that can be used to offset plant processing and operating costs.
Furthermore, the final waste or digestate produced from the AD process is capable of being used as a bio-fertiliser in what is termed ‘sludge to land’ strategies.
How does Evogen Biogas Additive work?
The Evogen WWT Biogas Additive helps to optimise the anaerobic digestion process in order to overcome these typical challenges. Working in tandem, a novel mineral-based powder carrier and Bacillus microbes assist in the breakdown of organic feedstocks to optimise biogas production.
The mineral-based powder carrier acts as an ion exchanger that boosts interspecies electron transfer and serves as a colonisation site for methanogens, while the Bacillus microbes enhance the hydrolysis and fermentation phases of the digestion process by secreting anaerobically active hydrolytic enzymes.
Ultimately, this means the biogas conversion rate is accelerated, the volume of undigested sludge is reduced, and the biogas yield is significantly increased, resulting in lower running costs and a greater financial return.
Trials have taken place across Europe, proving the product’s efficacy and we worked in collaboration with United Utilities to further improve our data set and provide evidence from real-world testing that our Biogas Additive can be highly beneficial in the industry.
The main aims of the trial were to:
- Demonstrate an increase in biogas generation
- See a corresponding increase in energy production
- Show reduction in final sludge volume for disposal
- Demonstrate no detrimental impact on the final sludge quality
The trials started in March 2021 with an initial slug dose. The system was then dosed daily with a set amount of Biogas Additive over a 12 week period.
Following analysis of the data, the trial was concluded to be successful on all 4 of the parameters set for the trial.
In regards to Biogas production, dosing of the Biogas Additive resulted in a 19.3% increase and for energy production, this translated to a 9.1% increase against historic production. That’s an additional 49,482 KWH during the 12-week trial period.
The estimated reduction in final sludge for disposal was between 12% and 16%.
Overall, the plant operated more efficiently with Biogas yields improving and sludge for disposal reducing, but there of course has to be a financial benefit to using an additional product to gain not only operational efficiencies but cost efficiencies also. By utilising Evogen Biogas Additive, the cost analysis showed that for one digestor, the site could generate an extra £45,000 per annum. It was calculated that for every £1 spent on product, there was £2 back in benefits. This is from the reduction in sludge disposal costs, as well as an improved output in energy generation.
Following the results of the trial, Dr. Chris Charles said: “We were able to work with people from multiple backgrounds at UU who lent us their experience to keep the trial on track and were key to helping us deliver a successful end result.
“We loved taking part in the Innovation Lab 3 and it was a fantastic experience to be involved and to see such great results for Evogen Biogas Additive. The trial has proved pivotal in further improving our data suite for the product and we hope it will aid in giving customers and prospects confidence in our technology.”
More about Evogen Biogas Additive
If you’d like to talk to our knowledgeable team about your AD system, you can get in touch to discuss your requirements and our pricing options.
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