What is the Code of Practice for on-farm biogas production and use in piggeries?
All across the world, there has been an increased interest in the ways that energy is produced and utilised, and how this affects our environment. From renewable energy sources to becoming more energy efficient and everything else in between, the use and creation of energy is of huge importance to all industries, including the Australian Pork industry.
That is why we have put together a little information regarding biogas production and piggeries, in particular the Code of Conduct when it comes to management of biogas in the pork industry, to further educate people on how beneficial biogas can be across a huge range of areas. If you have any questions, give Inoplex a call on 0448 307 282 and we can discuss your queries.
What is the Code of Practice?
In these circumstances, the Code of Practice is a set of guidelines to assist those within the Australian Pork industry in safely utilising biogas arrangements for their various farming installations. The Code of Practice applies to biogas projects across Australia, however every site needs to be addressed individually to ensure safety and practicality.
For more information, head to the Australian Pork Code of Practice website.
Scope of the Code of Practice
The scope of the Code of Practice includes:
- Aim: To provide a framework and guidance that offers consistency for the safe design, construction, operation and maintenance of biogas systems. This will hopefully ensure a greater engagement of biogas solutions in the Australian Pork industry.
- Approach: A risk-based approach is used, identifying risks associated with on-farm biogas as well as potential options to mitigate those risks.
- Limitations: The Code focuses on on-farm installations, which therefore limits the scope to the recovery of biogas from agricultural waste and by-products (primarily pig manure), at a rate of less than 500m3 of raw biogas per hour which is conveyed or stored at pressures less than 50kPa and that does not cross the boundary or title of land on which the biogas is produced.
- State & Territory Legislation: The Code of Practice is not a replacement for the legislation and requirements for different states and territories. Instead, it supports all relevant legislation and it is the responsibility of the individuals or companies relying on the Code of Practice to ensure they are complying with all relevant regulatory authorities.
What does the Code of Practice deal with?
The Code of Practice covers design, construction, operation and maintenance of biogas systems, as well as the protection of the environment.
When it comes to designing biogas arrangements, the Code of Practice deals with a range of aspects, including:
- Ensuring the design and project is appropriate, through extensive consultations, evaluation and considerations when it comes to feedstock, the local authorities and potential emissions.
- Ensuring the relevant state and federal regulations and legislation are being followed.
- Ensuring the appropriate controls are in place, including fail safe devices and noise damping.
- Ensuring the appropriate administration is in place, including both adequate procedures and training.
- Ensuring the biogas flare does not pose any hazards.
- Ensuring appropriate safety signage is to be installed.
Next comes construction. The Code of Practice attends to a range of construction factors, including:
- The use of appropriate construction materials throughout the entire process.
- The digester is suitable for the site.
- The biogas transfer piping is safe and secure, so no leaks can occur or blockages arise that are caused by solids.
- Ensuring the appropriate ventilation is installed, if/where necessary.
- Ensuring both the biogas storage and conditioning systems are suited to the needs of the site.
After the design and construction component, there is the operation. This is a very important component, and the Code of Practice attends to:
- Ensuring no ongoing safety or health issues are apparent.
- Ensuring that the ongoing noise levels are not too high.
- Ensuring that biogas-specific risks, such as the flammability of methane in biogas, are constantly monitored.
- Ensuring there are adequate emergency procedures in place.
In addition to the operation of a biogas project, there is also the ongoing maintenance. The Code of Practice covers aspects such as:
- Does the biogas equipment and piping posing a hazard during maintenance?
- Ensuring that there are adequate record keeping processes in place.
Finally, the Code of Conduct looks at the environmental component of a biogas installation including:
- Odour emissions.
- Addressing decommissioning waste.
- Addressing concentrated waste (nutrient) discharges (manure, digestate) from storage facilities.
- Noise emissions.
- Any hazardous materials needed to run a biogas project.
What doesn’t the Code of Practice deal with?
There are a few areas that the Code of Practice does not deal with, including:
- Feedstock handling.
- General OH&S requirements.
- Structural design of ponds, tanks and lagoons.
- Environmental aspects that aren’t connected to a biogas project.
- Arrangements where biogas is being produced to be on-sold to a consumer.
- High pressure and consumer applications of biogas or its derived energy.
The Code of Practice has been created with the most common situations in mind, however the specifics of your exact site also need to be looked at. There may be external factors that need considering that are not covered in the Code of Practice and/or that other site specific controls and practices may better mitigate the risks. Therefore, some biogas projects can be assessed outside the scope of the Code.
So, the Code of Practice applies to biogas projects, but what is biogas and what is involved in a biogas project?
What is biogas?
Biogas is a biofuel, which is a fuel that has been produced from living matter and is a renewable energy source. A biofuel is carbon neutral, due to the fact that the CO2 that is created when burning it has been already removed from the environment over the organism’s life. Biogas is made up of a mixture of different gases, including methane (50-75%), carbon dioxide (25-45%), water (2-8%) and hydrogen sulphide, and is naturally created.
A biogas project usually includes the creation, movement, handling, processing and combustion of biogas on-site for energy and/or destruction of methane and odour. Some steps include:
- Gathering effluent from the pig sheds, whether by pumping or by gravity draining.
- Effluent may be separated beforehand for coarse waste solids.
- Effluent is then sent to an an anaerobic treatment system which produces the biogas.
Why have the Code of Conduct?
The Code of Conduct is an important component to ensuring the safe and ongoing use of biogas projects in the Australian Pork industry. It addresses a huge range of aspects when it comes to biogas arrangements, and how to manage and/or eliminate any risks associated with various parts of the projects. The Code of Conduct, combined with the relevant state, territory and federal legislation, ensures a comprehensive structure when it comes to biogas projects for piggeries and other Australian Pork industry sites.
Your knowledgeable biogas experts
If you have any questions regarding biogas, or would like to discuss a suitable arrangement for your business, give Inoplex a call today on 0448 307 282. We are specialists in biogas solutions, so get in contact now!