The anaerobic digestion companies which are available to provide services for clients who seek to engage a contractor which will be able to provide the service each client needs are now very diverse. It would be easy for those new to the anaerobic digestion and biogas scene to become confused about the terms used to describe each type of anaerobic digestion (AD) company.
We know that this is a fact, because we often get requests for quotations for biogas plant which by the nature of the request, we cannot quote for.
Hint 1: What is the Main Difference Between Anaerobic Digestion Companies in the West Compared with in the Less Developed Nations?
In the industrializing nations by far the biggest demand for AD skills is for the installation of relatively small manual gravity fed buried anaerobic digestion systems, built usually in stone or brick, and assembled on-site using skilled labour trained in this type of domestic and livestock farm digester.
In countries like China, India, and quite a few African states such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria, a search for biogas companies will result in many hundreds of small low tech businesses. The task becomes one of finding a reputable company not too far away, to avoid high travel costs.
By contrast, the anaerobic digestion companies of the developed nations are set up to build much larger and more technologically advanced commercially operated AD Plants.
The main difference between the two types of anaerobic digestion companies is therefore size, and the technology used.
Hint 2: Are “Anaerobic Digestion” Companies the Same as “Biogas” Companies?
The answer is usually, but not always. In the industrializing nations the term “anaerobic digestion” is rarely used, and those people that seek an anaerobic digestion plant to be designed and installed for them would do best to search for a “biogas plant installer” or a “biogas plant company”.
In the developed nations, a biogas plant will have a slightly different meaning to that in the less developed nations. In western countries such as those in Europe, the US, South America etc., there are very few home, or small community biogas plants. This reflects the fact that few, if any, wealthy residents want to have a home biogas plant which is perceived as smelly and dirty. Those that there are, tend to be co-operatives and community groups which have a low profile in the region, but often will pass on expertise to groups interested in sharing their skills in building small biogas plants, so asking around locally is the best way to find those groups.
Biogas Plants in the developed world are much larger, above ground tank installations, and companies which build them are called either anaerobic digestion companies, or biogas plant companies. It is usually the case that when a company is called a biogas company it either acts as a designer and installer, or in the agricultural AD Plant sector, only operates an AD Plant.
If a company calls itself an anaerobic digestion company in the west, it is usually involved in the design and installation/ commissioning/ operation of AD Plants which process Residual Household Waste.
Hint 3: What are Anaerobic Digestion EPC Contractors?
Anaerobic Digestion EPC Contractors are better known as “AD plant installers”, but they are more than that in most cases, because they usually do the anaerobic digestion plant design, in which the necessary tank sizes are calculated, and suitable equipped, sized and shaped AD plant is designed. EPC Contractors are expected to have the skills to commission the AD plant, on completion of building, and to train the client’s staff in how to operate the equipment that they have installed.
Hint 4: What are “Turnkey” and “Package” AD Contractors?
These organisations are contractors who are EPC Contractors (designers and installers) who will carry out all the necessary work in advance, commission the plant with suitable feedstock, and then hand the completed and operational Anaerobic Digestion Plant to the client for the client to operate it.
It is recommended that in most instances the best option for the biogas plant client person/ operator is, if the AD plant budget will stand it, to sign an additional operating period into the Construction Contract.
Hint 5: Why Do Clients Instruct AD Consultants?
Anaerobic digestion consultants are available with their own AD Companies, who specialize in nothing but advising clients about their biogas plants.
Before the project is built they can be essential to help the biogas plant promoter to put together a fully costed business plan for installing the AD plant, and earning a profitable level of income together in a way that will convince investors that the project is a safe money earning and repayable opportunity.
AD consultants, when they do their job well, can save the promoters of these plants many thousands of dollars of costs in delays in getting such essentials as planning permission granted, and selecting suitable feedstocks available in the market, and available for processing at the specific AD plant.
Consultants are used in the developed nations, at least in-part, to take the burden of organising the project, and then they can often also be useful to ensure that the biogas equipment is bought and installed in accordance with the contract agreement. This is so that the AD plant is of the intended (hopefully high) quality, and that the equipment will act as desired in order to be reliable for the business using it.
We hope that you have found these 5 hints useful. Please, do give us your feedback by commenting in the comment box below, if you have time.