SeaGas : Production of bio-methane from seaweed by Anaerobic Digestion (AD)

Lead Research Organisation: Scottish Association For Marine Science
Department Name: Scottish Association For Marine Science

Abstract

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Planned Impact

AD currently uses land biomass such as cereals, grass silages or food crops to supplement varying levels of waste streams causing a negative impact on land for food vs fuel and concerns over GHG emissions. While AD has the potential to meet 10% of UK energy demand by 2020 (ADBA 2014), alternative sustainable feedstocks are essential. Seaweed does not compete with food for land or require fresh water. It is fast growing, captures CO2 more efficiently than land plants and is a bio-remediator. It has carbohydrate (CHO) /gross calorific value (GCV) 11-15MJ/kg comparable with cereals (13-19/MJ/kg). Seaweed can replace grass silage in AD combined with food waste to produce the same gas yield 10.4m3 CH4/t.

Utilising all waste streams, the UK AD industry could generate 40.4TWh of biogas, or >10% of demand and be worth £2-3Bn by 2020. AD process knowledge and economics will inform plant design to maximise returns from FIT and RHI. TCE and the steering panel will identify early adopters by M18, in East Anglia and Scotland to build pilot AD plants in the 20ml coastal strip, near waste streams, within 6M of project completion. This will minimise transport costs and GHG emissions and benefit from closed loop energy integration. AD plants can be funded by loans from eg Green Investment Bank, (~£3Bn), Enterprise Finance Scheme(~£2Bn). Small AD plants generating <500kWe, with seaweed at £300/t dwt can return £700k-£1Mpa with build costs of £2M-£3M and ROI <4 yrs, including £5/t for digestate as fertiliser but excluding savings in waste disposal. Larger AD plants generating 2MWe, with seaweed at £150/tdwt can return £2Mpa with build costs of £3M to provide ROI in < 2yrs. Operation of 50 such plants using 2.5Mt seaweed by 2025, with growth of 20% pa to 2030 is feasible. This will require a multi-harvest, high yield, (200t/ha) seaweed farming system (Benchmark Holdings). TCE manage min ~6.6Mha coastal seabed, equivalent to the UK area of arable land, and will licence thie Treasury revenue, promote economic growth, job creation and further exploitation of seaweed based on the supply chain economics and the storage system. 2% (132,000ha, 1,320km2) of the coastal seabed producing 200t/ha seaweed would supply up to 26Mt seaweed value ~£390M for AD. To generate the same energy in AD with maize, instead of seaweed (at 22m3 CH4/t), would use 12% UK arable land. TCE will support supply chain development by leasing land for storage, NSMC and Norfolk Council will promote seaweed for biofuel production, CEFAS will lead on marine management. Further exploitation of seaweed in fermentation and energy generation by gasification will be economically enabled and the partners will apply the expertise and knowledge in other IB processes.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Using a simple process, the composition of seaweed can be stored for up to 9 month. This occurs through the establishing of a lactic acid bacterial communitiy within the seaweed, which inhibit other organisms from breaking down the seaweed. This is an adaption of the ensilage process used in agricultural crops such as grass and sugar beet.

we have also developed and tested a modular100x100m grid design of seaweed farm. This is far cheaper than the convential longline method, and requires less anchors and maintenance.
Exploitation Route the process of seaweed ensilage will be a vital component in the development of large scale seaweed cultivation for biogas. it allows us to harvest seaweed when the composition/growth are optimal, and then use it constantly over 9mo before the next harvesting period begins. we are also development a guide to optimal harvesting time for ensilage, based on seasonal changes to composition and fouling.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description Seaweed Policy Statement Consultation Paper contribution 2015-2016
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2013/08/6786
 
Description Binder seeding to improve the economic case of UK macroalgal cultivation (Bindweed)
Amount £161,934 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/S004408/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 10/2020
 
Description Gametophyte cultivation studentship, led by Philip Kerrison
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of the Highlands and Islands 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 05/2021
 
Title 1 month lab ensilage experiment 
Description large scale replicated experiment on 100g samples of seaweed tested various conditions and treatments to ensure optimum preservation 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact paper will be publshed. results inform other workpackages 
 
Title 12 month barrel experiment 
Description 60L barrels packed with harvested seaweed and treated using various methods to develop an optimal ensilage method 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact paper will be published from this data. Data feeds into other publications under development 
 
Title Analytical method development for composition analysis of fresh and ensiled seaweed 
Description Developed and defined reliable methods for high throughput analysis of multiple components of seaweed and seaweed ensilage including: sugars and carbohydrates (glucose, laminarin, mannitol, cellulose, alginate) total protein, dry/ash weight, organic acids (lactic, butyric, valeric, acetic, formic) 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact this will be included in n invited book chapter publication on analytical methods in 2017 
 
Title Deploying a seaweed farm 
Description We have designed a previously untested layout for a seaweed farm and overseen its deployment in the Firth of Lorn, near the SAMS lab, Oban. We have now deployed several kilometers of strings seeded with juvenile seaweeds. The new design benefits large scale seaweed culture. This, if successfully brought to harvest, will meet our requirement to supply large quantities (several tonnes) of seaweed for the second (large scale) harvest of the Seagas project. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The notable impact, if the farm is successful, will be growth data from the first dense seaweed plot in the UK, (laid out grid fashion, as opposed to individual longlines). 
URL http://www.sams.ac.uk
 
Title Preserving the sugar content of harvested seaweeds for later anaerobic digestion 
Description We have collected data relevant the successful, long term, storage of freshly harvested seaweeds to preserve their gas-yielding capacity upon anaerobic digestion. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact we will present a published data once the supporting biochemical analysis is complete 
URL http://european-biogas.eu/2015/08/12/uk-cpi-works-on-seagas-project-for-biomethane-production-from-s...
 
Title hatchery refurbishment 
Description Refurbishment of existing seaweed hatchery to increase capacity to 10km 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact seaweed string has been sold from the hatchery in both 2016 and 2017 to a commerical company 
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS)
Department Biological Station, Roscoff
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation National University of Ireland, Galway
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Country Norway 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation Technical University of Denmark
Department National Food Institute
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description EUROMARINE APPRISE workshop 
Organisation University of Porto
Department Centre Of Marine And Environmental Research
PI Contribution Foresight workshop on innovation pathways form macroalgal utilization and potential socio-economic impacts
Collaborator Contribution will attend Worshop in may and will contribute economic feasibility data (on harvesting, ensilage and biogas production) developed as part of SEAGAS
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Ensilage researchers 
Organisation Ceva Sante Animale
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Helped to bring together people researching ensilage within a number of European projects,.
Collaborator Contribution A meeting has been organised in April 2017 to allow us to coordinate activities and prevent overlap.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Ensilage researchers 
Organisation Seafarm
Country Sweden 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Helped to bring together people researching ensilage within a number of European projects,.
Collaborator Contribution A meeting has been organised in April 2017 to allow us to coordinate activities and prevent overlap.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description MS-LOT meeting May2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Workshop with Marine Licencing department of Marine Scotland (MS-LOT). Intention to inform them regarding seaweed cutivation development in Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Marine Biofuel Production Technology, Oceanology International, London. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited to give a talk on seaweed cultivation under Seagas at the Oceanography International conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SEAGAS final meeting Sep2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Final meeting to summarise the findings from the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Scottish seaweed cultivation: from S3EED to SEAGAS. Nordic Seaweed conference, Denmark. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact gave a talk at this seaweed conference, including a summary of SEagas activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Seaweed consultation, SAMS - 3 workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2016, we ran three workshops with local and regional people interested in seaweed cultivation under SEAGAS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Towards Scottish Seaweed Cultivation, Aviemore 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Gave an invited talk about Seagas activities and the future of seaweed cultivaiton at this aquaculture industry meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Towards large scale seaweed cultivation, MBRE 2016, Glasgow. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact gave an invited presentation including work on the Seagas project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description seaweed cultivation workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshop to provide information on update developments in seaweed cultivation int he UK. 40 attendees, mainly seaweed busineses
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2018
 
Description seaweed outreach workshop Portaferry NI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact public talk on our seaweed ensilage work
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016