British company Clearfleau is commissioning its most complex plant to date, which will feed bio-methane into the gas grid in rural Cumbria. By feeding the bio-methane into the gas grid, the facility will produce over £3m per annum in cost savings and revenue, while supplying up to 25% of the creamery’s energy requirements.
The plant has been designed and built for Lake District Biogas, which will operate the site for twenty years taking feedstock from First Milk’s Aspatria creamery site. This comprises low-strength wash waters such as process rinses, supplemented by whey permeate (cheese production residue after protein extraction for use in energy supplements). This is pumped to the AD plant from the creamery.
This is the first on-site Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant in the dairy industry in Europe to feed bio-methane to the gas grid, generated exclusively by digesting its cheese making residues. When the plant is operating at full capacity later this spring, it will treat 1,650 m3 per day of process effluent and whey and generate around 5MW of thermal energy.
It will produce 1000 m3 of biogas per hour, over 80% of which will be upgraded for injection into the national grid. At least 60% of the bio-methane will be used in the creamery for steam generation. Revenue benefits include 20-year index-linked, government-backed incentive payments, with about £2 million per annum in support through the government’s RHI scheme and a further £1 million through the sale of gas to the wholesale market and from the Feed in Tariff scheme for the power generated in the CHP engine.
Text by Clearfleau