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Development of an e-learning platform for the operation and management of biogas production units

Newsletter 1

MAY 2014

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our first issue of DELOS Newsletter that we would like to present to you! With our semi-annual newsletters we will keep you regularly updated with the progress of our project and make you aware of news related to DELOS, waste management and biogas production, which we hope will be of interest to you.

In this first issue, we have prepared a selection of articles in order to introduce you DELOS, its objectives and activities as a EU funded transfer of innovation project in the management of agricultural waste. The state of the art of biogas production in the partners’ countries is also analysed. In particular, we would like to inform you about the Stakeholders Network we are currently building up. The DELOS Stakeholders Network will play a particular role in the development of our e-Learning modules. The identification of their needs will be the basis of our training content.

We will regularly keep you updated with the most recent news about the status of the project. Additionally, each issue will include the consortium dissemination activities and a recommendation of conferences that might be of interest to you. Moreover, we kindly invite you to also regularly consult our website:

www.delosproject.eu.

We are happy to invite you to follow our activities with this newsletter and we are looking forward to your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

The DELOS consortium

Title
Development of an e-learning platform for the operation and management of biogas production units

Programme
Leonardo Da Vinci, Lifelong Learning Programme

Project No.
2013-1-ES1-LEO05-68066

Duration
01/10/2013-30/09/2015

Main objective
DELOS aims at promoting the process of anaerobic digestion of regional agro-wastes (i.e. olive mill wastewaters, cheese whey, cow/ pig manure) as a promising environmental friendly process for biogas production.

Partner countries
Spain, Greece and Cyprus

Consortium
Aitiip Centro Tecnológico, SciCo, Green Technologies Ltd, Marketmentoro Ltd.

It is clear that renewable resources have received great interest from the international community during the last decades and play a crucial role in the current CO2-mitigation policy. In this regard, energy from biomass and waste is seen as one of the most dominant future renewable energy sources, especially since a continuous power generation from these sources can be guaranteed, unlike other types such as solar energy and wind energy. Thus, organic waste i.e. animal wastes, wastewaters, energy crops, agricultural and agro-industrial residues are of specific importance since these sources do not compete with food crops in agricultural land usage.

The various technologies that are available for power generation from biomass and waste can be subdivided into thermochemical, biochemical and physicochemical conversion processes. Anaerobic digestion, classified within the biochemical conversion processes, is a robust process and is widely applied. Various types of biomass and waste can be anaerobically co-digested to generate a homogeneous mixture increasing both process and equipment performance. This technology is an attractive option to improve the yields of the anaerobic digestion of substrates due to the positive synergisms established in the digestion medium, a fact that increases the economic viability of the biogas plants.

A multinational state of the art analysis was carried out in DELOS partners countries. A survey was conducted in Greece aiming at identifying the anaerobic digestion plants treating agro-wastes and energy crops that are currently fully operational. Since 2014, seven (7) biogas plants are connected to the electric grid network of Greece with a total electric capacity of 3 MW. On the other hand, there are ten (10) anaerobic plants treating municipal sewage sludge located in the major urban centers of Greece. Their total electric output capacity is approximately 15 MW. The biogas production units treating agro-wastes are scattered across Greece, mainly in rural areas, while half of them are installed in animal-breeding farms. Therefore, their main feeding substrates for their anaerobic units are pig and cow manure, as a result of their normal activities. Following the evaluation of the survey, a serious lack of both theoretical and technical training was diagnosed, especially on a life-long basis. Furthermore, there is no unified learning material, which may cover the needs of the relative stakeholders, who are obliged to seek information in various sources in order to cover their needs.

There is an enormous potential for biogas production in Spain where 20% of the European pig herd is found. Spain has one of the largest agricultural sectors in Europe. There is availability of 49,7 tons per year of agro-industrial wastes for the biogas plants, as it was calculated in the frame of a Spanish national project, called PROBIOGAS.

In 2007, the Spanish Government approved a law (RD661/2007), which increased the price of the kWh produced from renewable resources up to 13cts. Some investors and engineers firms took the opportunity and started building more than 50 biogas plants. In 2012, the Spanish Government repealed this law, provoking a legal insecurity unacceptable for the sector that has been frightened with a reduction by 40% of the kWh price, drowning the only 12 plants which decided to continue their work besides the juncture. Training needs in Spain for biogas plants can be found in the cooperation among pig farmers, as pig manure is still a huge environmental problem that must be faced.

In Cyprus, only eleven (11) biogas plants have been connected to the electricity grid network since 2007, with a total installed electrical capacity of 7.964kW. From 10/12/2007 until 31/8/2011, the total electric energy production generated from these biogas plants and provided to the electricity grid was 79.260.431 kWh (source: Electricity Authority of Cyprus). The type of biomass that is mostly used is the pig manure and dairy waste.

The main barriers identified in Cyprus are the isolation of many of these biogas plants areas from any regional/local heat consumers, inadequate maintenance facilities and skilled personnel to operate plants as well as the lack in assessing the technology and awareness on biogas and its environmental/social benefits.

Based on the above identified need, the DELOS project aims at:

  • To support effectiveness of services and production related to biogas production
  • To diversify the professional skills of technicians, managers and workers within the environmental sector and the agriculture sector
  • To raise awareness on the environmental problem of agro-waste disposal
  • To contribute to the transparency of skills of farmers and targeted types of professions in agriculture and agriculture related services
  • To support development and employment in rural areas in partner countries.
  • To ensure that the biogas production sector workforce acquires the necessary skills and knowledge for their job and personal development
  • To contribute to the development of digital contents, which are fundamental element of the knowledge society
  • To involve the final users and other stakeholders into the process of e-Learning contents development and delivery in order to reach transparent and portable skills certification and employment.

One of the essential activities of DELOS is the build-up of a stakeholders’ network. DELOS stakeholders will play a significant role within the project. The targeted groups for the stakeholders’ network are operators, workers, managers and owners/investors of existing waste treatment/management plants, waste producers especially in the agro-industrial field and energy companies. The network will also encompass engineering companies dealing with waste management, environmental public authorities, policy makers (environment, VET), academic and research institutions related to DELOS technology and public audience in general.

 All members of DELOS stakeholders’ network are kindly requested to send us their input for the project by participating in an analysis – questionnaire prepared by the DELOS consortium – to identify their needs on the training in the agro-waste management for energy production. Their input will be the basis for the content of DELOS e-Learning modules.

 All members of DELOS consortium have started in early 2014 to contact SMEs and other actors in order to inform them about DELOS and the project activities. In the same step they have invited them to become part of the stakeholders’ network. All stakeholders will enjoy benefits like the possibility to participate in free content validation workshops and pilot seminars in the partners’ countries, where the e-Learning tools and their didactical content will be tested and presented. In the mid of 2015 stakeholders will have the chance to be part of a free simultaneous testing of the final e-Learning tool.

 Stakeholders can participate in different stages of the development of the e-learning modules for applying the proposed technology of anaerobic co-digestion in the agro-waste management from agricultural activities (i.e. olive oil production, cattle-breeding, cheese production).

stages

If you are interested in becoming a DELOS stakeholder please contact your local DELOS contact person or send email to jal@aitiip.com.

consortium

#

Name

Country

Role

1

Aitiip Centro Tecnológico

Spain (ES)

Coordinator

2

SciCo

Greece (GR)

Partner

3

Green Technologies Ltd.

Greece (GR)

Partner

4

Marketmentoro Ltd.

Cyprus (CY)

Partner

Kick-off meeting

The kick-off meeting of the project was organised by the coordinator, Aitiip Centro Tecnológico in Zaragoza, Spain on the 25th and 26th of October 2013. In these two days, DELOS partners determined the structure, the objectives, and the goal of the project in more detail. After the presentation of each partner’s profile, the activities for the first 6 months were discussed and defined more precisely. Focus was given on the workshops that will take place in the partners’ countries during the course of DELOS. Management and financial aspects were also arranged.

2nd project meeting

The 2nd project meeting was hosted by Scico and took place on the 2nd and 3rd of April 2014 in Athens, Greece. The meeting agenda included updates in the workpackages progress and deliverables as well as administrative issues.

The 1st Athens Science Festival was organized in Athens, Greece from April 30th to May 4th 2014 by partner Scico and the British Council. It is a creative and interactive hub with primary mission to highlight the science in everyday life and decipher the magic of the scientific truths, serving as an outreach scientific activity for the society. During the festival, DELOS project was disseminated via short presentations and discussions with visitors as well as distribution of the project’s leaflets.

www.athens-science-festival.gr

athens-science-festival

Members of the DELOS team from Green Technologies Ltd visited the world’s leading Trade Fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management IFAT 2014 (http://www.nfm-ifat.de/2014/en/home.php?suche=aktivieren) organized in Munich from May 5th – 9th 2014. IFAT 2014 is the largest trade fair for the environmental solutions in the world providing a unique exhibiting venue and a single access point to the entire European environmental market. During the Fair, all European leading companies in the field of anaerobic digestion were visited and informed on the objectives of DELOS, while a large number of the project’s leaflets were also distributed.

athens-science-festival2

An event that will be of interest to DELOS stakeholders is the Sardinia 2015-15th Waste Management and Landfill Symposium that will take place in September 2015 at Forte Village Resort, Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy. The symposium is dedicated to various aspects including new technologies of Waste Management, waste management strategies and climate change, case studies, waste policies and legislation. More information can be found at:

http://www.clocate.com/conference/Sardinia-2015-15th-Waste-Management-and-Landfill-Symposium/36388/