During a key conference session at UK AD Biogas, Ham Baker’s Business Development Director, Ian Goddard won support from an industry panel about the need for water companies to embrace innovation for the opening up of the sewage sludge market – and for stating that existing frameworks should not act as a barrier to new technology.
‘What challenges and opportunities does the de-regulation of the water sector hold for AD?’, which was chaired by Dr Piers Clark from the Isle Group, saw presentations from Alison Fergusson, Principal Engineer of Ofwat’s Water 2020 programme, Richard Laikin, UK Water Sector Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Steve Bungay from CIWEM.
For Ofwat, Alison Fergusson said that despite the short time frame for 2020, the challenge is very much to drive efficiency and how this might be achieved through new technologies, neighbouring, cross-water company treatment sites or through co-operation with local commercial waste companies. On behalf of CIWEM, Steve Bungay emphasised the need to protect farmer’s fields and also to simply and consolidate legislation.
Richard Laikin (PwC) said that it was time for the industry to move forward with a better business model, whereby sludge is dealt with in terms of Value Maximisation, rather than Cost-Minimization. He stated that the opportunities to generate revenue are high up the agenda, and agreed with Ian Goddard’s (Ham Baker) comments during a lively Q&A that the status quo isn’t going to be the winning strategy for the future. Laikin said that Ofwat’s regulatory changes will encourage innovation, commenting that there is likely to be a ramping up of technologies for the new markets that will be available to water companies.
“It was a very timely and encouraging conference session put together by ADBA (Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association),” said Ian Goddard.
“Landia’s GasMix (Twice Highly Commended at UK AD & Biogas Industry Awards), which is easy to retrofit, is at the forefront of improving gas yields – a system we don’t make but have in our Renewables portfolio because we believe in it so much”.
He added: “It is therefore heartening to think that the water companies can be less risk adverse - embracing such a low maintenance yet highly effective technology that allows them to greatly improve revenue”.