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Assessment of digestate drying as an eligible heat use in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Category: bioenergy
Published: 01/03/2016
Author: NNFCC
This report assesses the value of supporting digestate drying under the Renewable Heat Incentive, providing key evidence for renewable energy policy making.

Highlights

  • Overview of digestate drying technology, production, and markets
  • Economic evaluation of digestate drying
  • Assessment of value as an eligble use of renewable heat
  • Comparison to other digestate processing technologies

Reasons to buy

  • To inform policy makers about the value of supporting digestate drying
  • To inform investors about various digestate processing technologies and the economics associated

Number of pages: 28

Accessibility: This item is available to all NNFCC subscribers or through individual purchase

Summary

Digestate is an organic fertiliser product, produced in anaerobic digesters, that is mostly spread to land. Despite extensive work being done to stimulate markets for and improve confidence in digestate, its value potential remains low and due to its bulky nature, storage, transport and spreading costs can outweigh the inherent value and it often becomes a cost burden to the operator.

There are a number of markets where drying may be an essential step, to prolong storage periods, protect or enhance the quality of the product, to produce higher value products for more specialist markets (e.g. bagged fertiliser for horticulture, or for combustion), or where drying also facilitates a secondary process, such as pasteurisation. This effectively utilises ‘waste’ heat, reducing the cost and environmental burden elsewhere in the supply chain.
However, digestate drying is also energy intensive and can have a higher GHG footprint compared to spreading unprocessed digestate.

This report explores the pros and cons of digestate drying as a practice and alternatives methods to handle digestate. It then assesses the value of supporting digestate drying under the Renewable Heat Incentive, providing key evidence for renewable energy policy making. 

 

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