Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a booming technology when it comes to organic waste management and renewable energy production. Its development has been witnessed irregularly throughout Europe for the past decades. The market is dominated by continuous stirred digesters focused on...
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a booming technology when it comes to organic waste management and renewable energy production. Its development has been witnessed irregularly throughout Europe for the past decades. The market is dominated by continuous stirred digesters focused on fluid waste and that proved to be reliable with these substrates. But when it comes to solid or dry waste, most of the current technologies show technical weaknesses that cause increasing operating cost. This concerns the agricultural sector but also waste management private or public stakeholders. DualMetha is an innovative but robust technology that aims to bring to the market a reliable AD technology able to process any kind of waste with low operating cost. It comes with an unprecedented leasing model that would ease the funding of the project for farmers and help them strengthen their farm profitability.
This program could have a tremendous positive impact on different aspect of our society. Firstly, the European energy mix is still too highly based on fossil fuel. AD produces biogas that can be transformed into renewable heat & electricity or upgraded into biomethane. AD plants are local renewable energy production unit that could become an important part of our energy mix. The development of AD plants even more vital to France as the country does not produces natural gas and is highly dependent on importations from Russia, Algeria and Norway. DualMetha has a high potential of participating to this transition as its development could cover a high proportion of the market. Secondly, the Waste Management in Europe show inefficiency when it comes to organic material as most of the waste are treated through incineration or landfilling. The development of AD plants in Europe, would help reorient a great part of these organic waste towards more sustainable equipment. The development of DualMetha is crucial as it will be able to process a wider range of waste than its competitors. We believe that our solution will bring a relevant answer to current technological shortages and that our economic model will accelerate the development of AD plants in Europe. This development will generate positive economic and ecological impact on our society.
Our work was divided in two major chapter:
- A market analysis that identified the high potential markets in terms of economic context, energetic demand and biomass availability
- Meetings with stakeholders including farmers, energy and waste management companies
The market analysis aimed to sort the European markets according to their potential. This work was performed by studying where AD plants where already widely found and which countries had an active support scheme. This work showed that countries like Germany, the Nordic countries, Denmark, the Netherlands or the Czech Republic experienced mature market regarding AD plants. Nevertheless, the technological innovation that brings DualMetha could be a solution for certain plants in order to treat other kind of waste and consolidate their model. The second type of countries had a promising economic context (biomethane demand, feed-in tariffs, biomass availability) but a small existing number of plants. These high potential countries are for instance Italy, France or the United Kingdom. The last market category gather all the countries that have the technical potential to experience a large AD plants development but lack an economic framework.
This market study also addressed more macroeconomic challenges in order to understand the challenges that could face the DualMetha development. Even if the availability of biomass could be a subject in some territory, we believe that the potential in Europe is still highly unexploited and that it will not be a great risk for the coming decade. Moreover, our technological innovation brings the capacity of processing any waste - the combination with pyrolysis could also widen the range of processed waste (wood, plastics) â€“ which will be an asset to differ from the competition. The main macroeconomic challenge is the profitability of AD plants that could be jeopardized by the gas prices, the fall of feed-in tariffs or the end of subsidies. In order to outlast such an event, DualMetha is focused on bringing a low operating cost solution to the market. We are confident that our technology will success to become this â€œlow-costâ€ solution.
The second-part of our work was about meeting relevant stakeholders in order to gather feedback on our technology and on our economic model. These meetings aimed to understand the potential client expectations and take into account the point of view of possible partners.
Our interview with farmers were held in France, with mainly cereal farmers that are our first market. They expressed a great interest in the technical solution and understood why our innovations brought a solid answer to the current situation. They also had a positive look on the leasing model as it is a way for them to avoid investing large amounts of money and lowering their investment capacity on other equipment. They also brought some modification to the system or to its operation mode in order to ease their use of it.
Our meetings with other stakeholders also brought some positive feedback. The waste management companies we met saw the versatility of the system as a great asset in order to develop new ways of managing organic waste, as today the sorting of the waste is an important cost. The energy companies, and more specifically the gas network operators, want to assist the development of biomethane in Europe and saw DualMetha as a new technology that could help widen the spread of AD plants on the continent.
The conclusion of our feasibility work shows that there is a great demand for the DualMetha solution and a positive feedback on its economic model. We also have shown that most of European markets hold an important potential. The SME Instrument helped us understand what step are needed to be made to reach a market ready stage and opened a perspective on new technological development to widen our commercial development.
Overall, this Phase 1 adjoined by the feasibility study has proven to be a constructive experience for DualMetha. It has confirmed the relevance of our technological innovations and our economic model among potential clients and relevant stakeholders. The achieved objectives of the feasibility study were divided into four points:
- Measure the interest among farmers and stakeholders, for both the plant and the revenue model.
- Identify the most attractive markets based on regulatory framework, incentives and projected growth of demand for anaerobic digesters.-
- Understand what modifications need to be made to the plant to fulfil farmerâ€™s and regulatorâ€™s needs.
- Create a commercialization roadmap of the required steps to deliver DualMetha plants to European markets.
But this study overcame our expectative and allowed us to go further by exploring new possible developments. It helped us improve our technology according to the feedback we gathered from our interviews. These modifications were mainly on the size of the opening, on the closing system of the top, on the size of the liquid piping and on the necessity to diversify our way of loading the solid digesters. But the SME Instrument Phase 1 opened a new perspective on the possible combination with pyrolysis. We have assessed an existing demand for a global sustainable waste management solution able to process all kind of materials.
In the end, this study also helped us prioritize our development plan by understanding what market were the most urgent to address. We validated that the cereal-crop farmers were our first target. These famers are now strongly demanding a technology able to process solid lignocellulosic materials as they want to get involve into biogas and diversify their economic revenues as it has been done in Germany or with breeders in western France. Our study showed that a second stage of our development plan should address local governments authorities and waste treatment industrials. These stakeholders are not as ready as the cereal farmers but a change is experienced as they want to get involve into more sustainable waste treatment solutions and into renewable energy solutions.
DualMetha can generate positive ecological and economic impact as it brings a new technology able to produce a renewable biomethane out of unvalued waste. This means enhancing the current European energy mix by lowering the use of fossil fuel and therefore avoiding additional pollutions. It also improves our waste management solution and will help decrease the actual polluting waste treatment mode. On an economic point of view, DualMetha could help lower our gas importations, generate revenue out of waste and create a sustainable income for farmers as a first step and for local governments in a second time.
More info: http://www.dualmetha.com.