The new Alchemy TD system installed at a farm in County Monaghan has been working through its start-up phase, taking in starter inoculum and fresh feedstock over the past couple weeks. The gas production has been ramping up steadily and recently hit 68% methane content.
The plan for the digestion system is to slowly introduce chicken litter into the mix of feedstock to demonstrate valorisation of the difficult fuel. Due to the high nitrogen levels found in poultry litter it is used sparingly and often avoided all together in anaerobic digestion systems. The Alchemy TD dry digestion system installed is expected to be able to take up to a 30% concentration of chicken litter without any need for pre-treatment. This is just the first phase of a build out at the farm in Monaghan, later phases include the installation of the novel Alchemy pre-treatment system that will allow the process to take in 100% chicken litter with no requirement for mixing or dilution of other feedstocks.
The start-up phase of the digester has gone extremely well and everyone at Alchemy are very pleased with how it has progressed so far. From arrival at site to production of the first gas within the digester happened in less than four weeks – and even then a week was lost when delivery of the inoculum was unexpectedly delay by a week. The ability to have the digestion system arrive an up and running a just a few weeks is incredibly impressive and will be a huge shock to those familiar with traditional AD systems and the time frames generally involved with installation and commissioning.
To mark the milestone several members and key contributors to the Agrocycle* project attended the site to view the new system and discuss the next stage of the program. Pictured are members from University College Dublin, Harper Adams University, Manor Farms, Alchemy Utilities and the farm owners at Monaghan. This represented a huge step forward for the Agrocycle partners from a theoretical proposal to a tangible system that they can obtain measurements from and paves the way to delivering the results required from the project.
“The start-up time & methane quality has been impressive, we look forward to monitoring the results on valorising chicken litter as the project goes forward“Prof. Mike Theodorou
When fully operational Alchemy will be aiming to utilise the site to run open days to showcase the technology to potential customers and interested parties. If you are interested in attending then please get in touch to register for notifications.
*This research is part of the AgroCycle consortium, a Horizon 2020 funded project (no. 690142). Led by the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at University College Dublin, it comprises a consortium of 25 partners from eight EU countries, two partners from mainland China and one from Hong Kong.