AD experts join forces to give operators greater access to viable feedstocks

Two well-known service providers in the anaerobic digestion sector are joining forces with the aim of delivering greater access to rapid, more accurate testing.

AD operator and consultancy Amur – which is part of global nutrition expert AB Agri – is partnering with NRM, the UK’s largest provider of laboratory services to the AD market. NRM will offer Amur’s Bullet BMP test, which provides results in just five days. Bullet BMP enables AD operators to make rapid decisions on feedstocks, and check for inhibition at the same time.

Christine Parry, Technical Manager at Amur, said: “NRM is one of the most tried and tested players in the business – they were the first to receive PAS110 accreditation – and we are really excited to be working with them. Through this new agreement, we will be able to help a greater number of customers to be more responsive. Sourcing reliable feedstocks is a major challenge for plant operators, so any tools that help them to make decisions faster will have a big impact on productivity and income.”

Bullet BMP samples are received by NRM and sent anonymously to Amur, with just a reference number for identification. Parry said this was an important principal, both to ensure GDPR compliance and also to guarantee that Amur – which also operates a food waste gas to grid plant in Yorkshire and provides consultancy services to over 100 other UK AD plants – would not be exposed to confidential information from competitors.

Samples are dried and ground to remove moisture and produce a homogenous sample. The dry sample is scanned using near-infra red (NIR) technology, which measures the molecular bond vibrations in the sample and compared to a calibration model to give a predicted BMP result. The calibration model is based on a large data set of a range of samples, linking the NIR spectra to the wet BMP result. An inhibition test is carried out at the same time.

Sean Stevenson, Commercial Director at Cawood Scientific, NRM’s parent group
said: “The value of Bullet BMP is in the result. If a feedstock becomes available, operators
can see how much gas is present and quickly make a decision before a competitor takes advantage of it. Equally, incorporating the inhibition test gives operators peace of mind.

“Amur is the only company on the market able to provide such a rapid test. We knew that they had a great deal of expertise in NIR through Aunir, a sister company at AB Agri.”

NRM offers three test options to provide insight into the potential for a feedstock to generate biogas, but the theoretical and biological tests take longer to provide results. The biological test is also more expensive.

Parry concluded: “Bullet BMP is an important part of our wider business offering, so we are looking forward to helping the AD market to be more responsive, while feedstocks are in short supply.”