Enzymes Increase Plant Capacity - Springvale Energies
In 2014, Nigel Bloom set up Springvale Energies to develop a 499 kW AD plant, built by Binowa, at his farm, log cabin park and fishing lakes in Nottinghamshire. But after six months’ operation, gas production began to fluctuate. And when CHP production dropped from full capacity down to 475 kW – causing Nigel’s FIT payments and electricity sales to reduce by £860 per week – he realised his plant needed help.
FM BioEnergy had already carried out some analysis and recommended trace elements to prevent an imminent issue. When this incident occurred, they administered an emergency product the next day, which restored the plant to full production within 12 hours.
Nigel subsequently discussed a long-term plant support plan with FM BioEnergy, to prevent his plant from under-performing again and started to add a 10kg bag of BC.MAGXX to his feedstock every other day, which contains a unique mix of the trace elements necessary for his plant and, most importantly, at exactly the right levels. This keeps his plant operating at full load without process failure.
Enzymes in action – doubling plant capacity without the need for additional tanks
In 2015, Springvale Energies decided to increase the size of his plant. His technology provider Binowa advised him that the existing tank capacity could produce an additional 350 kW (a 70% increase) taking the plant to 850 kW, based on his current feedstock and with the addition of another CHP engine. But after discussions with FM BioEnergy about the potential of enzymes, Nigel decided to install a further 600 kW engine to increase the plant capacity to 1.1 MW (a 120% increase).
Once the new engine was installed, Springvale began gradually adding a bespoke enzyme product from FM BioEnergy, while gradually increasing the feeding and also the BC.MAGXX trace element product. By unlocking the energy within the feedstock, the enzymes enabled the microbes to get to work more quickly and more efficiently, increasing gas production by speeding up the biological process and decreasing the required retention time. Thanks to expert technical support from FM BioEnergy, within just one month the plant was running at 1.1 MW – more than double its original design.
“We absolutely did not expect to more than double our plant size without installing another tank,” says Nigel Bloom. “But it’s not just about the improvement to our profit margin; the plant behaves so predictably now. It’s much easier to manage due to the vast improvement in solid breakdown; this makes the digestate less viscous and less fibrous, which means no more crust formation and less parasitic load for mixing. It’s stacked up well financially, too. We haven’t had the expense of installing another tank, which would have been around £500,000. And since increasing to 1.1 MW we’re bringing in an extra £750,000 per year, minus feedstock costs of £350,000 and enzymes costing just £15,000.”
“We chose FM BioEnergy because they were precise about what they could do for us – they’ve enabled us to maintain our plant at full load with no process failures. Since working with them, they have been responsive and very helpful. They understand our goal for our plant, and know how to support us, to get us there faster, and with minimal hassle.”
Nigel Bloom, Springvale Energies
“We provide not only trace elements or enzymes, but also analysis, and all-round technical plant support. We advise on the best holistic solution for an individual plant, rather than simply trying to sell a certain package or product. When Springvale first enquired about our enzymes, I reassured Nigel that his plant didn’t need them – while they would have had a beneficial effect, the cost involved meant that Springvale would not have seen an increase in profit. However, when Nigel came back a few months later and said he was expanding the plant – without installing an additional tank – that was the time to discuss the impact that enzymes could make. We’re not in the business of selling products that our customers don’t need.”
Tim Elsome, General Manager, FM BioEnergy