Optimising Anaerobic Digesters: WASTES

Please enquire, VIRTUAL

Format: Online

Times:   9:30 AM – 16:30 PM

Fee:       Online: £345 plus VAT.

Funding to attend this course is available to Yorkshire SMEs through ADCEY (

Course Overview

There are over 500 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in operation in the UK digesting a range of feedstocks including food, crops and manures. The biogas produced is a renewable energy source and can be used to generate electricity and heat or be converted into biomethane. The new emerging technologies to incorporate hydrogen into the AD are now also considered.  Whilst the biosolids produced are largely applied to land as nutrient-rich biofertilizer.

Operators and managers are faced with the challenges of balancing gate fees with increasing energy production whilst minimising the costs associated with digestate disposal/recycling. There are many factors that influence the financial balance and this course provides operators, managers, designers, engineers and researchers with real life examples of digestion of different materials, successes and failures.

This course is aimed at operators, optimisers, managers, researchers involved in waste anaerobic digestion.

Course Aim

Each tonne of waste (on a dry, not fresh weight basis) contains 4-10 MWh of energy, depending upon its composition. The quantity recovered is a function of the digestion process, asset condition and quality of feedstock. The digestate produced is both a cost to handle and an opportunity to recover nutrients and produce a quality product.

This course is designed to help attendees understand and act upon the factors that influence biogas production, sludge dewaterability, compliance, cost and revenue generation.  Learning is delivered through a combination of lectures, case studies and worked examples.

Course Programme

  • The different phases of AD & key terms. Understanding biochemical pathways to biogas and in the future high-value chemicals
  • Energy balances – from feedstock composition, biogas production and use to embedded energy in digestate
  • Metrics for digester operation including VFA: alkalinity, hydraulic retention time, organic loading rate and rate of volatile solids destruction
  • Feedstocks for AD – food waste, green waste, agricultural waste, novel feedstocks
  • Trace elements and other additives
  • AD configuration and operation, focusing upon wet AD but including dry AD and pre-treatment processes
  • Common operational problems & solutions including foaming and inhibition
  • Digestate treatment including dewatering and liquor treatment
  • Quality, regulations and assurance: including BCS, PAS110 and ADQP

Trainer Profile

Matthew Smyth BSc, MRes, MBA, MCIWEM CSci CWEM

Technical Director, Aqua Enviro

Matt has been in wastewater and sludge for twenty years and works with water companies, industry and waste producers to develop and implement solutions.  He has delivered this course (and variants) for fifteen years to over 300 staff from the Environment Agency, multiple water company staff and in this format, which is open to all.

In the late 1990’s he began his career working on pilot and full-scale Sequencing Batch Reactors, developing, then commissioning carbonaceous and nitrification control strategies, that have been widely adopted in plants in the UK and Ireland.  He has subsequently worked closely with many anaerobic and advanced anaerobic digestion facilities treating wastewater and food waste materials, dewatering the digestate and handling the liquors produced.  He presents and publishes regularly at industry recognized conferences including Aqua Enviro’s European Biosolids & Bioresources and European Wastewater Management Conferences.  He is a member of the CIWEM Wastewater Management Panel and has delivered over 2000 training days on these topics (1 training day is when 1 person attends 1 course for 1 day).

Outside of training Matt contributes to Aqua Enviro’s Technical Team, providing a input and steering to projects and to develop our team of process scientists.  His continued exposure to a wide range of investigative, challenging and solution orientated projects is brought into training to ensure that the material presented is current and relevant.

Please contact to make an enquiry about this course.