Norsk Biogass: A new member of Green Business Norway
10. September 2009
As a raw material for biogas production, organic waste is a valuable green energy resource. However, food waste is frequently a major social problem with serious environmental consequences if it is not treated properly.
From waste to green energy
Unfortunately, large quantities of organic material currently go to waste in incinerators worldwide, in the absence of efficient pre-treatment technology. Norsk Biogass has risen to this challenge with its patented BioSep® technology. The company is featured as Green Business Norway’s business of the month at www.greenbusiness.no
Interview with Norsk Biogass AS
Editor’s note: (The rest of this article is an interview with Ole Rød, CCO of Norsk Biogass). Food waste today comes from a variety of sources: households, the grocery trade and the food industry. The waste from all these sources also contains unwanted elements such as plastic, glass and metal. Usually the waste is packaged. If the waste is to be used efficiently as a high-quality raw material, these alien elements – each of which has distinct characteristics typical of its source – must be removed.
Biogas producers, equipment suppliers and other specialists now largely agree that pre-treatment is the number-one challenge in using food waste for energy production. Enter Norsk Biogass, with its patented BioSep® technology.
At a glance, the current pre-treatment options are compression machines, pulper technology, some combination of these, and custom machinery specific to a particular type of waste. Leaving aside the significant challenges that are purely process-related, and the associated operating and maintenance costs, let us use the percentage of reject material as a measure of each technology’s efficiency.
On this important criterion alone, compression technologies are by far the least efficient. The pulper method is a little better, but both have a high reject percentage – meaning that a lot of organic material gets separated out with the alien material explains Ole Rød of Norsk Biogass.
Reject material is a cost factor for plant owners because it has to be dealt with, usually by incineration. Meanwhile, the plants lose a significant volume of raw material and hence biogas output and sales revenue
BioSep® – an innovation
Norsk Biogassubstrat AS, a company based in the Vestfold region of Norway, has developed a unique new pre-treatment technology for food waste. The core technology, called BioSep®, enables users to automate the removal of packaging from food products and transport packaging from food waste. The machine is particularly effective in removing plastic, the number-one challenge.
A significant plus point is the fact that BioSep® was developed on the shop floor in a working plant, rather than in a lab. To date, over 80,000 tonnes of food waste from every source have been processed efficiently, with excellent results says Ole Rød.
BioSep® separates, washes and dries the waste in a single process, resulting in a low reject percentage that has yet to be beaten. The low-tech, robustly built machine has so far proved very economical to run.
Benefits, benefits and more benefits
The primary benefit of BioSep® technology is its ability to remove packaging, especially plastic. The 5–7% reject rate (grocery sector waste) and 1% incidence of organic material in the reject waste are exceptionally good.
The treatment process consumes only small amounts of water. Another benefit is that the machines can handle multiwaste (organic waste from multiple sources) without any technical adjustments. The result is major operational and market advantages for plant owners.
BioSep® – a non-proprietary technology
Norsk Biogass is offering and marketing the core technology to all comers; it is not reserved for use in turnkey pre-treatment solutions developed in-house. Thanks to its simple design and compatibility, it can easily be integrated into established design solutions and existing plants, improving their operational performance and ability to compete.
We’ve spent a long time getting to the finished product stage, but this way we can be sure it works. We have an open-door policy at our plant and are happy to share our experience with anyone who’s interested, regardless of whether they call themselves competitors. BioSep® can only enhance other solutions, not damage them says Ole Rød.
Green Business Norway – a key forum
Given the diverse membership of Green Business Norway, we’re looking forward to playing an active part in a forum where waste to energy is a key topic. We beleive Green Business Norway is a place to brainstorm with colleagues on top-class Norwegian technology in the renewable energy sector concludes Ole Rød.