Improved biogas analysis key to unlocking ROI for anaerobic digestion plants

A more stringent approach to the biogas analysis process has the potential to deliver a step-change in ROI for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, believes a leading global specialist in environmental engineering and gas instrumentation.

More than a year since the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) launched its landmark Biomethane: The Pathway to 2030, which outlined the critical role biomethane can play in decarbonising the UK and achieving a net zero economy, the level of investment in new AD sites remains low.

While factors such as policy change and the impact of COVID-19 have undoubtedly influenced the new AD installations, QED Environmental believes improvements to the biogas analysis process could deliver a step-change in quality, and therefore ROI, for biogas production.

Mike White, Territory Manager – UK & Ireland at QED Environmental, comments: “While the UK anaerobic digestion industry has not had the rub of the green in terms of policy in recent years, addressing some misconceptions around the subtleties of the production process, can go a long way in repositioning it as a viable contributor to the UK’s decarbonising efforts.

“For example, a like-for-like volume of feedstock will not deliver a like-for-like gas composition, as this is ultimately determined by a myriad of interchangeable factors. Gas analysis technology is key to understanding the gas composition, and using it more effectively can make a big difference to the quality of the gas that is produced.”

The ADBA believes a more conducive policy environment would enable AD technology produce 8 billion m3 biomethane/year – enough to heat 6.4 million homes by 2030. It claims this would deliver a 6% reduction in total UK greenhouse gases emissions, specifically within the hard-to-decarbonise sectors of heat, transport, waste management and agriculture, and 30% of the reduction needed by 2030 to meet our legally binding carbon budget.

“There should be little argument about the important role AD contribute towards achieving a net zero economy. However, viable AD operation comes down to ROI and improving the quality of measurement systems will allow operators to make any adjustments to deliver the highest quality of gas at the desired output. Not only will this improve its potential for energy production, it can also protect the CHP engine from increased levels of H2S and O2, as well as excess moisture.”

He adds: “Ultimately, if improved measurement can lead to a better ROI on biogas production, we hope it will not only incentivise further investment in the technology, but also induce a return to a more favourable policy environment in the near future.”

QED Environmental’s Geotech range of ATEX-accredited Biogas analysers provide robust, high quality gas monitoring for AD sites. For more information, visit: