Helping green the energy market

Capital funding for one of the UK’s leading analytical testing service companies is not only enabling it to diversify into the rapidly expanding anaerobic digestion (AD) market, creating new jobs, but also promoting growth in this sector across the north of England.

With more than 55 highly skilled staff, Sciantec, a division of Cawood Scientific, is renowned for its ability to assess, quantify, evaluate and appraise raw materials for animal feedstuffs, finished feeds, pharmaceutical compounds, pre-mixes, forages, combinable grains and pulses.

But the company is keen to grow. By investing in new equipment it will be able to deliver valuable analytical services for the anaerobic digestion sector, which is expanding rapidly in the region.

“Sciantec is just the type of business our ERDF grant program was designed to support. Their application was a no brainer for us: we could quickly see that the grant would not only allow Sciantec to expand, creating two skilled new jobs in the firm, but that it would also enhance the region’s growing reputation as the go-to-place for the AD industry,” says BDC Business Development Unit Manager, Dr Fabien Deswarte

The funding provided by the BDC’s ERDF capital grants scheme enabled Sciantec to invest in equipment that now allows them to capture and analyse the gas produced during the AD process to determine its quality.

“Analytical data regarding suitability of feedstocks, the stability of the process and the quality of the final digestate product are essential if the UK AD sector is to continue to grow and provide green energy and other products,” said Cawood Scientific’s Sean Stevenson.

The instrumentation will primarily be used to determine the biological methane potential (BMP) of feedstocks and assess the quality of the biogas produced, but it can also be used to better understand and improve the efficiency of the AD process itself.

“Beyond providing a new service now, Sciantec is also exploring how these new instruments can help them test the feasibility of undertaking BMP analysis using even smarter technologies” said Fabien. “Long-term, this could develop into a more rapid and cost effective method for determining BMP which would be of advantage to the industry.”

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