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UK-based Future Biogas launches AD consultancy service

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The UK’s biggest green gas producer, Future Biogas, will launch a subsidiary consultancy service focused on anaerobic digestion (AD).

Launching on 8 April, Fern AD will focus on the biological expertise required to optimise AD plant efficiency, helping operators to benefit from Future Biogas’ industry-leading biologists and in-house laboratory.

Future Biogas’ biologists have extensive experience in the field, working on the company’s 13 AD plants. The firm harvests 250,000 tonnes of maize to power its plants and produces 50MW of biogas every hour of the year. With the launch of Fern AD, they will be able to show other plant owners and managers how to use the latest science to optimise biogas yields through the analysis of tank digester samples and provision of detailed, tailored guidance.

Philip Lukas, founder and managing director of Future Biogas, said: “Over the years, we’ve accrued a wealth of specialist knowledge, especially in our biology and farming teams. When it comes to the growing and ensiling of energy crops or the biological management of an AD digester tank, they truly are the experts.

“We want to share this knowledge, because we believe collaboration is key to a cleaner, greener future. Learning from each other is in everyone’s best interests. It’s how we improve the AD sector’s standards, environmental credibility and profitability as a whole.

“On our collective journey to carbon net-zero, we must work together as partners to facilitate the speedy transition to a viable renewable energy mix. That’s why we’re now opening our doors and sharing our knowledge with the launch of Fern.”

As well as providing expert advice, Fern AD will be the exclusive retailer of its own tank digester additive – the result of years of laboratory work and extensive practical trials – called T16. The firm will also offer in-depth training on the managing of microbiological aspects of AD plant operation.

In conjunction with its sister brand, Fern Farming (which will launch simultaneously), Fern AD will be the sole distributor of Germany-based BÖCK’s range of silage clam sheeting, which has been shown in tests to create an oxygen barrier that is ‘considerably better’ than the industry standard.

Dr Denise Cysneiros, the microbiologist leading the Future Biogas and Fern AD lab, said: “There’s no substitute for practical experience. My team and I manage multiple AD sites, day in, day out. As a result, we have an in-depth understanding of how they work. In some cases, we have turned around unprofitable plants, by pinpointing and addressing specific problems – thanks to our rigorous testing systems and specialist lab result interpretation.

“Our secret weapon is our in-house tank additive, T16. Energy crops like maize and barley seldom have the right balance of nutrients for the optimisation of the AD process. Consequently, soon after joining Future Biogas, I set about creating a supplement for feedstocks.

“After extensive lab work and practical trials, the outcome was T16 – a unique recipe of 16 trace elements including carbon monoxide, selenium, manganese and nickel. It’s been shown to boost biogas outputs time and time again.

“As a scientist, I wholeheartedly believe in sharing knowledge. I look forward to sharing our insights and biological services – as well as the benefits of T16 – with other AD companies to help them become more successful.”

Look out for Future Biogas in the March/April issue of Bioenergy Insight magazine, with insight from the head of farming, Innes McEwen, on the importance of data in AD.