NNFCC Publishes 2022 Edition of Anaerobic Digestion Deployment in the UK Report

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Press Release, 3rd May 2022: NNFCC publishes ninth annual ‘AD Deployment in the UK’ report

NNFCC has published the ninth edition of its annual Anaerobic Digestion Deployment in the UK report. The report summarises the developments in the UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry over the past 12 months and looks ahead to future developments in the sector.

As of 11th April 2022, the UK currently counts 660 operational facilities (excluding traditional water treatment plants), representing an added installed electrical capacity of 40,000 kWe equivalent and 7,000 Nm3/hr biomethane compared to April 2021, resulting from 13 new biomethane to grid (BtG) and 8 new combined heat and power (CHP) plants becoming operational. Furthermore, although several plants have been facing construction and supply delays due to the pandemic, our data still shows a strong development pipeline. This includes a further 39 BtG projects that are planned or consented, boasting a total cumulative biomethane capacity of 17,000 Nm3/hr.

To complement the comprehensive production data and with increased interest in biomethane for transport, underpinned by the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), the report also now includes data on offtake, with a particular focus on distribution, scale and status of biomethane filling stations. NNFCC currently records 35 operational biomethane refuelling facilities in the UK. Of these, 9 are open to the public, 21 are restricted to commercial use only, and 2 are private.

The Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS) opened, as scheduled, on 30th November 2021. To date 11 applications have been made for tariff guarantees, with 6 being granted, suggesting a reasonable pipeline of developments can be expected to commission over the next 12-18 months. As ever, the journey hasn’t been smooth for many, with sanctions on Russia delaying financial close whilst the provenance and flow of funds was investigated, and although elevated gas prices offer a significant upside to revenue forecasts in most financial models, the capital and operational costs continue to rise as a result of ongoing uncertainty and ever tightening regulatory controls.

Lucy Hopwood, NNFCC’s Lead Consultant for Bioenergy and Anaerobic Digestion comments: “Since the Covid-19 restrictions have lifted, it has been great to be back meeting clients in person and attending events, where the reassuring vibrancy of the industry is evident. Although there hasn’t been any significant leap in deployment, we continue to see a steady rise which is what is required to deliver and maintain a strong, healthy and resilient sector.”

“The recent heightened focus on energy security clearly provides opportunities for the AD market, in particular for domestic biomethane supply, to reduce our reliance on imported fossil gas. However, there remain many hurdles to overcome before this potential can be realised. The recent publication of the British Energy Security Strategy felt like a missed opportunity to recognise the potential contribution the UK’s biomethane, and broader bioenergy sector, can make. There are also nuances in the Regulations that need to be clarified or tested, to give confidence to the sector before investments can proceed.”

However, Lucy adds that “over the past 12 months, [NNFCC] has seen a lot of interest from overseas businesses, looking at the UK AD market for investment and development opportunities”, which shows that these hurdles do not deter investment, and that current obstacles are not insurmountable.

To purchase the report please click here.

For more information:

Where to access the report

The report is available to buy on the NNFCC website, either outright or as part of a business support package. For further information please contact Lucy Hopwood, the report author at l.hopwood@nnfcc.co.uk

Sustainability guidance from NNFCC

Whilst tracking the market landscape, NNFCC have been helping AD and bioenergy clients understand what new policies mean for their business and how to strengthen their supply chain, to be resilient to increasingly stringent sustainability policy. We have developed a user-friendly carbon calculator for biogas and biomethane producers to demonstrate compliance with sustainability criteria, for RHI, RO, or RTFO (in line with policy guidance).

NNFCC’s Biomethane & Biogas Carbon Calculator deals with the complexities of multiple feedstocks and is excel-based, making it easy to use, robust and transparent. It also graphically highlights where weaknesses lie in supply chains and where to focus efforts on reducing emissions, to comply with regulation as it is inevitably set to tighten in the future. Access options for the Biomethane & Biogas Carbon Calculator can be found here.

Notes to Editors

NNFCC Ltd is a specialist bioeconomy consultancy based in York, the UK.  Established by the UK government in 2003 as the National Non-Food Crops Centre, NNFCC has grown to become a leading independent consultancy focused on understanding biorenewable markets and technologies. They provide global clients with a holistic view of feedstock, technology, policy and market development across the bioeconomy, enabling informed business decisions and sustainable business strategies.  NNFCC also provides technical, market and policy expertise on the conversion of biomass and waste to bioenergy, biofuels and biobased products to the UK government.  See more at www.nnfcc.co.uk.

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