After slightly more than a year since the launch of the demonstration site in Lyon, the DECISIVE concept still attracts attention from external biowaste solution developers as it is proving its efficiency and expectations and above all – flexibility and adaptivity during unforeseen circumstances
On the morning of 11 March, a Swiss-German delegation of three of MEIKO GREEN, a Swiss based company offering solutions for tailor-made biowaste treatment, was the latest delegation to visit the Lyon based demonstration site. Their reason for visiting Lyon was understanding the underlying principles of the technology deployed and the functionalities of the installation. The hosts, the local public agricultural education and training institution (EPLEFPA) used this opportunity to point out the Facilities Classified for Environmental Protection certificate which serves as the underlying enabler for having such an installation operational in France. The rest of the visit revolved around the digestate management.
In case of the Lyon demonstration site, The Facilities Classified for Environmental Protection permit was obtained on time prior to the launch of full operations in March 2020. The pandemic which was later declared heavily compromised the planned operations as it allowed only 7.25 t of biowaste to be processed instead of 50 t previously expected due to a smaller intake of catering waste from restaurants which had to close down for most of the year. However, those periods during the pandemic when biowaste collection was possible showed and proved that the daily target could easily by achieved. As the pandemic and lockdown progressed the digester had to be stopped.
On the bright side, this led to other lessons learnt as it was proven later that the digester could be restarted after several weeks at low temperature and without being fed, simply by reheating and progressively refeeding it. The pandemic and the lockdown thus, as unforeseen circumstance, helped to demonstrate the flexibility and adaptivity of the DECISIVE solution.
Of course, not all the performances were achieved as expected. In terms of biogas production, measurements were not possible during the first 6 months of the pandemic until October 2020 when a production of less than 15 m3/day was recorded, which was below the target. This showed one negative impact of the pandemic and the irregular operations – unsteady feeding of the digester. Furthermore, this irregular biogas production led to the biggest drawback caused by the pandemic – the sterling engine could not work and produce electricity as there was no steady and regular intake of biogas. Instead, the produced quantities of biogas were burnt.
Overall, the demonstration site served exactly for what its name stands for over the last year. The pandemic only allowed the developers to learn every single hidden opportunity and threat caused by external factors. The project partners hope to see the demonstration site running at normal conditions again by the end of the project, October 2021.