Researchers at Robert Gordon’s University are keen to find out the views of Orcadians on having an Anaerobic Digester plant in the islands.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a natural process where plant and animal materials (biomass) are broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of air. The AD process begins when biomass is put inside a sealed tank or digester.
Naturally occurring micro-organisms digest the biomass, which releases a methane-rich gas (biogas) that can be used to generate renewable heat and power; this helps cut fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The remaining material (digestate) is rich in nutrients, so it can be used as a fertiliser.
The researchers state that although the idea is popular with many local businesses that they have had limited success in generating current survey data, which is an essential part of making this a reality.
The survey will run until the end of August and you can access it here:
The survey will help the researchers to:
- Quantify the volumes of feedstock that would be available
- Quantify the available area of land to spread digestate to
- Highlight potential sites for an AD plant
- Determine whether there is stakeholder interest in running an AD plant
Anaerobic digestion to produce methane is a good idea but the methane needs to be used wisely and not burnt continuously to create electricity which has been the case for plants supported under the feed in tarrif.
As a stored energy it should only be used when there is a shortage of other renewables it will go much further this way and help balance the fluctuations between supply and demand from wind and solar energy.