“I have been involved in the Granville Ecopark project from its conception, the whole way through the build, commissioning and now oversight of successful operations. Creating the business from design to implementation has given me invaluable insight to the AD industry.
A part of Granville Eco Park’s culture and success has been due to working within very high industry standards. This was complimented by achieving the first Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme (ADCS) accreditation in the UK, a reflection of our hard work and dedication to our staff, our investors, the plant and the environment. The ADCS has been developed as a industry-led standard which is there to improve and protect the health and safety, the people and the environment within the biogas industry. Governance and compliance play a vital role in maintaining key commercial and operational objectives, and there is a need to promote high levels of accountability within the industry. As environmental and sustainable executives, we have a moral obligation to ensure that our people and plant are safe, our inputs and products are of the highest possible standards, and that all our actions protect the local and national environment.
Taking all of this into account, there are some out there still asking themselves why they should become part of the ADCS, however in retort, the question actually should be, how could they not want to become part of it, as it is exactly the standard we all should be striving for.”
David McKee, Chief Technical Officer of Granville Eco Park AD Facility in Dungannon, Northern Ireland – a Chartered Chemical Engineer with over 15 years’ experience in the renewable energy industry
“Our journey on the scheme started mid-2019, when we saw ADCS was available and we considered certification. In July of the same year, we requested an initial visit from the Technical Support Manager at ADBA, and by the end of August we had signed up to the scheme and paid our Certification fees.
We have a relatively small ‘on-farm’ plant; 500 kW which is fed approximately 11000T per annum. This plant supplies electricity to our farm buildings and ‘on-farm’ processing and packing site. A ‘circle’ is completed within the process wherein our leek waste from the site is fed back into the plant.
The Scheme Standard was available to download, and we started to work through it. Although it appeared daunting at first glance, we did find the requirements simple enough to check through.
In our opinion we found that the Scheme has provided the following:
- Encourages self-regulation
- Gives a formatted structure to work towards within the business
- Provides a Certificate to be proud of
- Highlights the benefits of a structured maintenance system to avoid breakdowns, especially as the Plant gets older
- Time consuming initially to ensure that everything was in place
- No discount offered through insurance
- Initial costs were expensive to achieve full compliance
In summary, however, we do still feel that it was beneficial to the company to undertake the Certification. We have learnt a lot through the process and, like all Certification Schemes, the idea is to work towards continuous improvement. We would certainly encourage the uptake of the scheme as we feel that it enables us to keep up-to-date with regulations as well as encouraging us to be pro-active as opposed to reactive.”
Caroline Bales-Smith, Allpress Farms Ltd / Horseway Energy Ltd
“Malaby Biogas has been a certified ADCS participant since 2018 and is the 1st AD business in England to have achieved certification. I consider the ADCS to be an industry badge for professionalism, good working practices and demonstrating that we value our staff, our supply chain and processes. As investors we gain confidence from the ADCS and as operators we are comforted that we are good and safe performers. The audit check list provides us with the ability to check all aspect of the business and in combination with other certifications like ISO and PAS the ADCS allows us to provide comfort to regulators, insurers, the local community and industry colleagues that we are the ‘Best in Class’.”
Thomas Minter, Malaby Biogas
“As the site manager of a 90,000 ton Food Waste AD plant in Northern Ireland I am responsible for the day to day running of the site. On any given day there is such a huge variety of things to think about such as H+S, environmental compliance, plant maintenance and process monitoring that it can be difficult to know if everything is being done correctly. When we came across the ADCS we went through the criteria document and checked that we were doing everything that was recommended. This was a really useful exercise as it gave us confidence we were already doing most of it but also highlighted a couple of areas I needed to make some improvements. With the criteria document being freely available it gave me a chance to improve some of our procedures and get the correct site documents in place before the auditor came. The independent auditors were very thorough but it was clear they are there to help meet the standards and not just catch me out. Having passed the audit and being accredited I am now much more confident that we are running the site in line with best practice and meeting all of the compliance and standards required of me. We already had ISO certifications in Quality, Environmental and H&S fields but the ADCS is tailored specifically to our industry and much more applicable. I would definitely recommend doing the ADCS as the whole process from checking the scheme criteria to the audit is very useful.”
Site Manager, Granville Ecopark
“As the Compliance Officer at Andigestion, it is my responsibility to ensure that our Anaerobic Digestion facilities have the correct procedures, paperwork, staff training and compliance measures in place.
Despite holding ISO 14001, 9001 and 45001 accreditations already, I learned that the ADCS audit is streamlined if ISO accreditation is already in place and how it is focused much more on industry specific standards.
As a compliance professional, I found the process of using the scheme criteria and the auditing process useful, and due to having the majority of standards in place already, the audit was far less of a burden than expected.
The main driver for applying for ADBA certification was our wish to maintain continual improvement and the ADCS certification goes some way to demonstrating that we are on top of things and ensures that any changes to our operations are made the right way.”
Tom Brown, Compliance Manager, Andigestion
“The ADCS was first conceived during a period of rapid growth in the AD sector with the aim of ensuring that the design, construction, operation, and overall performance of all AD plants in the UK were best in class. The basis of the scheme takes roots in the pillars of process safety management making it unique to an industrial process activity. The scheme links leadership with knowledge and competence, engineering and design, systems and procedures, risk management, human factors and culture.
Another key benefit of the scheme is that it provides a clear and structured approach to every stakeholder involved in the AD plant. From the early stages of plant design, construction, commissioning, operations, and ongoing plant optimisation the structure and criteria in the ADCS provide a useful guide at each stage. For operational sites the ADCS can be used as an improvement tool with continuous checking against the criteria and the annual audit, so I would encourage all operators to use the scheme to their advantage.”