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Energy markets report: anaerobic digestion

Nicholas Newman Natwest ContentLive July 2017

Thumbs up for bio mass

As part of a series of articles on the energy sector, we look at the headwinds and opportunities for investors and operators in biomass energy.

Today, a wide range of businesses, including farms, factories and even cities – such as Aarhus in Denmark – obtain heating and power from biomass gas. The gas is derived from the breakdown of sewage, energy crops and agricultural and food waste in anaerobic digesters (AD) and harnessed for heat or power.

Market demand for biomass

A decade ago, the non-sewage AD sector was still in its infancy in the UK. However, by December 2016, there were 540 functioning AD plants, according to a report by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bio Resources Association (ADBA).

But while 2016 was buoyant, this year has seen a decline in interest. “It’s not attractive as it was, especially given the low oil prices and the changing value of sterling,” says Thomas McMillan, director of renewables for Savills’ rural, energy and projects division.

Nonetheless, future prospects for anaerobic digesters are promising. As Ollie More, ADBA’s head of policy, notes: “There are over 400 plants currently in the planning process, with a potential aggregate capacity of over 500MW.” Read more

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