Environment Agency Launches Revised Anaerobic Digestate Quality Protocol

11-02-14(2)picThe Environment Agency, with support from WRAP and industry representatives have revised and updated the end of waste Quality Protocol (QP) for anaerobic digestate.

The new document updates the original QP (first published in 2010) to provide greater clarity and additional clarification of acceptable input materials and their associated codes.

The revised QP is applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a transition period of two months for existing QP producers and users until 10 April 2014.

The Quality protocol will be hosted on the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme website, (BCS) which is operated by REAL, a subsidiary company for the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

Important changes in the revised QP include:

  • the requirement for land managers using digestate to maintain records for the specific purposes of the Quality Protocol has been removed
  • appendix B (acceptable inputs) has been updated to provide clarification of acceptable inputs and associated codes, including additional codes to describe waste that is subject to certain forms of pre-treatment at facilities between the site of waste production and the AD facility
  • tanning liquor and sludges from leather production have been removed from Appendix B
  • a good practice section has been included covering storage, handling and use of anaerobic digestate.

REAL certification manager, Ciaran Burns, said: “With the Environment Agency’s ADQP, which the REA lobbied for in 2009, and REAL’s non-profit Biofertiliser Certification Scheme, the UK has the only national end-of-waste regulatory framework in Europe.

David Collins, REA – “One of the early successes for REA Biogas was to lobby the Environment Agency for the early introduction of the ADQP back in 2008. This made the UK the first – and to date only – country in Europe to achieve end-of-waste for digestate”

“Along with the forthcoming update to the PAS110, these updates will provide clarity on the regulations for digestate producers and further build confidence in the market for biofertiliser. This update to the ADQP makes several improvements, reducing the administration burden for producers and rationalising the list of appropriate feedstocks. This will increase the value of digestate products and boost the overall economics of anaerobic digestion as a source of renewable biogas.”

Quality Protocols set out end of waste criteria for the production and use of a product from a specific waste type. Complying with the criteria in the protocols is sufficient to ensure the fully recovered product can be used without undermining the effectiveness of the Waste Framework Directive, and without the need for waste management controls. QPs also provide increased market confidence in the quality of products made from waste and encourage greater recovery and recycling.

The update rationalises the list of AD feedstocks covered by the QP while reducing the burden for biogas and digestate producers.

The BCS is the first and only certification scheme to date that AD producers can use to demonstrate compliance with the ADQP and achieve end-of-waste status.

Welcoming the news, REA head of biogas, David Collins, said: “One of the early successes for REA Biogas was to lobby the Environment Agency for the early introduction of the ADQP back in 2008. This made the UK the first – and to date only – country in Europe to achieve end-of-waste for digestate.

“It is great to get the updated ADQP hot on the heels of the new Biomethane QP. The good news comes at a challenging time for the industry, as we work with DECC and partners to resolve issues with the Feed-in Tariff. Building market confidence in AD outputs, including digestate, can have a real positive impact on the economics of biogas, so this regulatory boost is timely indeed.”

For the full update CLICK HERE

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