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

Newsletter 2


Dear Readers,

Welcome to our second issue of DELOS Newsletter that we would like to present to you! With our 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 second issue, we are presenting the progress of our project, focusing mainly on the pilot actions in partners countries where the overall DELOS Stakeholders Network will play a significant role in the validation and the development of our e-Learning modules. The identification of their needs will be the basis of our training content. This newsletter also presents interviews with key stakeholders regarding the biogas sector in Europe.

We will regularly inform you of the most recent news about the status of the project. Additionally, this issue includes the latest consortium dissemination activities and suggestions on conferences and events the DELOS consortium will participate in and might be of interest to you. Moreover, we kindly invite you to also regularly consult our website:

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

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

Leonardo Da Vinci, Lifelong Learning Programme

Project No.


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

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

The stakeholders network has been created in Spain, Greece and Cyprus and is constantly updated, comprising energy companies, policy makers, academic organizations, waster producers, public authorities and operators and managers of waste treatment plants. Our stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in our workshops and pilot actions where they will work on the validation and finalisation of the e-learning modules. The scheduling of the pilot actions is as follows:

February 2015: Contents test & E-portfolio test
17-27 March 2015: Pilot courses in Greece, Cyprus and Spain
April 2015: National report
May-June 2015: Final report

Each country will use 10 participants, which should cover all the aforementioned stakeholders profiles. Half of them will carry out the training course online and half of them physically. Participants will finally fill out a survey, which will analyze the contents of the e-learning tool.

If you want to become a stakeholder of the DELOS project and enjoy free training for biogas plants management, please register directly in the project’s website:

DELOS project follows closely the progress of the biogas industry in Europe and especially in the partners countries. Interviews from key people and researchers in the field are included in the current newsletter.


Christos Zafiris

Biogas Project Manager

Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES)- Biomass Division

19th km Marathonos Ave, 19009, Pikermi Attiki Greece

E-mail:, Tel: +30-210-6603261



According to data from the European Biogas Association (EBA, 2014), there are 14,572 biogas plants in the EU countries with a total installed capacity of 7.857 MWe and production of 46.885 GWh of electricity and 48.519 GWh of thermal energy, which correspond to 13.5 million homes powered by energy from biogas. The two countries with the largest biogas production in Europe is Germany, with electricity generation 24.419 GWh, and Italy with 8.890 GWh, while the number of workers already reached 68,500 in the biogas sector. The largest market has been created in Germany, with a turnover amounting to 6.9 billion euros.


Layout of a Biogas Plant (adapted by Danish Energy Agency)

The dynamics of the biogas market in Greece is constantly growing and the prospects appear very positive, despite the slowdown the economic crisis has brought to the industry. According to conservative estimates of the Biomass Division of the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES), 18 million tons of by-products/waste are annually discharged uncontrollably across the country from about 151,000 SMEs of the primary sector (Zafiris, 2007). Until 04 June 2010, when the Law N.3851/2010 was published in the Government Gazette, the installed capacity of biomass/biogas plants in Greece was 40,1 MW with a few applications for electricity production licensing having been submitted to the national Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) at that period for settlement. From that date till now, 248 applications for a total installed capacity of 2041,4 MW have been submitted to RAE for licensing production of electricity from biomass.

So far the RAE has issued 83 permits for the production of biomass/biogas of 441.3 MW total power. These permits are distinguished, based on the feedstock and technology, in 46 production licenses of 146.5 MW power from biogas plants stemming from various sources: 7 production licenses of 17,06 MW power from sewage treatment plants, 7 production licenses of 41.33MW power from landfills, 26 production licenses of 72 MW power from livestock and agricultural residues, 3 production licenses of 12 MW power from agricultural residues, and 3 permits of 4.12 MW power from forage residues). The remaining 37 production licenses of 294.80 MW total power are stemming from biomass plants using combustion technology.

The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO S.A.) has given priority to 79 applications with a total capacity of 87.80 MW offering connection to the network according to the Law 4001/2011. Thirty one (31) more applications of biomass/biogas were added amounting to a total power of 29.30 MW, based on the Law N.4062/2012 which gives priority to applications submitted up to the 30/03/2012, reaching a total power of 117.10 MW. With a fourth proposed regulation on energy legislation, priority in reviewing applications in saturated power grids is established for electricity generation from biomass, biogas or bioliquids for which complete dossiers for granting permanent connection offer have been submitted until 31.12.2014. The biogas energy exploitation projects operating in Greece today have a total installed capacity of 43.50 MWe (Zafiris, 2012).

Problems from the use of biogas in Greece

  • The management and the availability of raw materials, in terms of their production, collection, transport and availability
  • The approval of the environmental conditions, with regard to issues related to digestate and pasteurization, especially when taking under consideration the ignorance of the organizations involved
  • The restricted capability of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) for connecting – via HEDNO – of the biomass/biogas plants per region to the network. Additional problems arise due to delays on the part of the national Operator of Electricity Market (LAGIE) to pay for electricity, sold by Market Power Exchange, as formed by the provisions of Law 4001/2011
  • The failure of Greek legislation to regulate the single waste disposal costs, according to the principle ‘the polluter pays’
  • The lack of information on the energy use of biogas and the expected benefits to the country
  • In social acceptance: The Greece suffers from a high degree of resistance from local communities and administrative barriers to the creation of new energy infrastructure and particularly biomass
  • In bureaucracy: A multilayered system of approvals and complex bureaucratic procedures lead to lengthy licensing procedures
  • In the absence of land use: The administrative barriers are compounded by the lack of planning for industrial plants and waste disposal
  • In finance: banks do not give loans easily due to the economic crisis; furthermore the interest rate is high
  • In technical difficulties: The use of cogenerated heat is not straightforward given the relatively low needs for heating in the country. In addition the use of liquid digestate as fertilizer is not quite widespread.


  • There is a strong political will from the European Union for the generation of biogas from biomass as a significant energy source by following the sustainability principles.
  • Biogas/biomethane has the ability to increase the security of energy supply and, based on its energy requirements and gaseous emissions, its production does not burden the atmosphere with greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The improvement of carbon footprint in biogas plants, from economical point of view, is necessary and can be attained by improved biogas production, reduction of methane slip and use of life cycle cost analysis.
  • Despite the obstacle of bureaucracy and the problems faced by investors and manufacturers of biogas plants in Greece due to the lack of knowledge and sciolism of several involved stakeholders, the prospects of this field and its potential development are impressive.
  • The energy use of byproducts of agri-livestock and specific agri- industrial organic byproducts can be implemented at a central biogas plant, with biogas and organic fertilizer as main products as well as with major energy, environmental and economic benefits.
  • The economics of such units is mainly based on the fact that the raw material (agriculture and livestock products, etc.) is often of zero or negative value, and secondarily on the unit products being of undeniably commercial value. As a renewable energy source, biogas falls into law provisions for the sale of electricity whereas the sale of surplus heat can yield additional revenue. Moreover, the resulting production of solid organic fertilizer can be considered a major source of income in the agricultural sector.


E. Theofanous, N. Kythreotou, G. Panayiotou, G. Florides, I. Vyrides

Energy production from piggery waste using anaerobic digestion:

Current status and potential in Cyprus

Elsevier Journal Renewable Energy 71 (2014) 263-270, Cyprus University of Technology – Department of Environmental Science and Technology and Department of Environment of the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment


Cyprus has no indigenous energy sources and thus its power system is totally isolated and depends completely on imported oil, which contributes to 96.4% of total primary energy supply and 100% of electricity production. Given the increasing prices of fossil fuels on a worldwide level, the need to include Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into the current energy system is becoming imperative.

During the past years, due to the efforts of both governmental agencies and private investors, many RES production units have been installed in Cyprus. These units comprise of photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind parks and biomass-biogas production units. According to data from the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Agency (CERA), the production of electricity from RES for 2013 was as follows: 230.61 GWh by wind parks, 35.83 GWh, by biomass-biogas units and 44.99 GWh by PV systems. The target for Cyprus is that by 2020 renewable energy should account for 13% of the total energy consumed compared to the 3% in 2005. In 2013, 11.5% of the electricity produced from RES was from biomass-biogas units even though the potential of biomass-biogas units is considerably great.

The first anaerobic digester in Cyprus was installed in 2007 for the treatment of pig waste. According to the Department of Environment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, today, there are 13 biomass-biogas units in Cyprus, of which 12 units use anaerobic digestion (AD) (Fig.1) and 10 units use animal waste as their main substrate. These 10 units are connected with the power distribution grid of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) supplying their output. Noteworthy is that, 8 of the AD units, use mainly piggery waste. In Cyprus there are 78 pig farms (2011) and thus the potential to use AD for biogas production from piggery waste is highly attractive.


During 2003, biodegradable waste was estimated to be 3203 tons and their separation by origin is depicted in Fig.2. Animal waste consisted of 59.7% of biodegradable waste of which 82% was piggery waste. Assessment of the total biomass potential in Cyprus available for energy production, through AD, resulted in the total amount of solid and liquid biomass of the specified waste streams being 9.2 million tons while the potential biogas production was estimated in two ways with the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) consumption method and the Mass of Waste Digested method being found to be 114 and 697 million m3, respectively.


The current status of the biogas production per AD unit examined is presented in Table 1. As shown, this ranges between 787 and 5760 m3/day while, the total biogas production is 20,475 m3/day.


The energy generated by the AD units using piggery waste is divided into thermal and electrical energy. The thermal energy generated is used to cover internal needs of the units, such as heating of water and space heating. Almost all the generated electricity (80%) is supplied to the EAC power distribution grid and only 20% is used internally in the units. In 2011, the total installed electric power was 8667 kW while the electricity generated was 51,610,196 kWhe (Table 2). It should be noted that in 2011 the internal consumption of electricity was 11,897,882 kWhe and the total electricity supplied to the EAC power distribution grid was 39,712,314 kWhe (35,830,571 kWhe in 2013). Also, the total installed thermal power was 8892 kW and the total thermal energy generated was 49,733,004 kWhth.


3RD project meeting

The 3rd project meeting was hosted by Marketmentoro and took place on the 22nd and 23rd of October 2014 in Nicosia, Cyprus. The meeting agenda included updates in the workpackages progress and deliverables as well as administrative issues.

The expansion of biogas energy usage has continued across the European Union. According to EurObserv’ER, about 13. 4 million tonnes oil equivalent (Mtoe) of biogas primary energy were produced during 2013, which is 1.2 Mtoe more than in 2012 representing a 10.2% growth. However, the biogas sector’s momentum was more sluggish than in 2012 (16.9% between 2011 and 2012, giving an additional 1.8 Mtoe) and it is expected to lose some of its impetus in 2014 in a number of countries whose sector expansion controlling policy changes will limit the future use of energy crops. More information can be found at the Biogas Barometer 2014.


Besides the project’s website, the activities of DELOS have been also disseminated by partners Marketmentoro, Scico and AITIIP through their business sites and social media pages (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn). Announcements on DELOS progress have been also published in news portals such as, and the webgate of Cyprus Productivity Centre.

Partner Green Technologies will also participate in conferences related to biogas and waste management, such as the 11th PanHellenic Symposium on Oceanography and Fisheries “Aquatic Horizons: Challenges & Perspectives, where the development of the e-learning DELOS training platform for the operation and management of biogas production plants will be presented (E. Koutra, A. Kopsahelis, C. Zafiri C. and Prof. Michael Kornaros). The conference will take place in Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece from May 13th to 17th, 2015.

DELOS will be also represented by the project’s Coordinator AITIIP in SIBIOENERGIA, an international exposition on renewable energy that will take place in Zaragoza during March 17-20th, 2015. The main Spanish DELOS stakeholders will be present in this event. If you are interested in biogas training, please visit AITIIP at the exposition.