The Alchemy H20 Optima is designed to reduce the carbon footprint of food production and agriculture in Ireland, particularly for dairy producers, where high energy and water use are heavy greenhouse gas contributors.
Alchemy Utilities’ CEO Richard Griffin said sustainable farming and food production are very high on Ireland's economic agenda as the global population expands, and both food and water are set to become dangerously scarce if action is not quickly taken in many countries.
He said this leaves Ireland in a unique position as a country with substantial food production capability.
“It is well known that the government wants to double the country's food exports by 2020 and Alchemy can provide the best technologies to assist that without pushing up the carbon footprint," Griffin said.
Alchemy said that by combining two of its technologies – the Alchemy H20 Optima and the Alchemy TD – most dairy and other food producing plants will be able to purify their waste water on-site, at almost zero carbon emissions, as well as generate renewable heat and power for their factories utilizing their own waste.
Griffin said the company’s energy technologies run on a wide range of waste feedstocks, although these need direct discussion with the waste producer to determine optimum performance.
The Alchemy TD, thermophilic digester technology developed by the company, generates electricity and heat, and also can produce granulated or pelletized fertilizer.
No efficiency loss
Alchemy told DairyReporter thermophilic digestion is not new - but it normally comes with high energy costs (reduced efficiency) to produce the biogas.
“This new system (Alchemy TD) has an innovative design that allows thermophilic temperatures without the loss of efficiency,” a spokesperson said.
Its design means it fits onto a significantly smaller footprint compared with traditional anaerobic digestion systems, the spokesperson added.
Alchemy said that more than 69% of the world's fresh water is used by the agricultural sector, so by purifying waste water with Alchemy H20, it can be re-circulated as drinking or process water, as well as the additional benefit of providing savings of more than 3,000 tonnes of carbon.
Quicker installation time
Alchemy said pricing of the product and installation is not prohibitive; it will be comparable to traditional anaerobic digestion, but with the additional benefits of higher efficiencies and high quality fertilizer production.
Installation time is also significantly reduced compared with traditional AD systems, the spokesperson said.
“The digesters are pre-fabricated and delivered to site complete; they can just sit on concrete plinths. Once installed, the start-up time is around 1-2 weeks, compared with 4-5 weeks for traditional technologies.”
As for financial benefits, the spokesperson said they will be location specific but in the UK the system will be eligible for Feed in Tariffs (FITs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
By producing heat and power, the system will offset grid electricity and fossil fuels used for heating.
Additionally, Alchemy told this website, the fertilizer will not only be a cost benefit to the farmer but also any excess produced could be a revenue stream through sales.
Alchemy said the technology can be sold worldwide.
“In particular, the combination of technologies (TD and H20) will be applicable in a wide range of locations,” the spokesperson said.
“From the UK dairy farmer to remote island communities that have both an organic waste issue and drinking water shortages/stress, we have already had meetings with partners in Indonesia, Japan and Korea.”