Case Studies

In 2012, Greensphere commenced its investment programme in Duranta Energy, an anaerobic digestion (AD) and effluent treatment platform in Middlesbrough, Teesside.

A community impact project at its core, the funds were deployed to initially construct a 5.1MWe (now 7.4MWe equivalent) biogas-to-electricity AD plant in Teesside, which is the UK’s largest food waste and effluent processing facilities – with over 120,000 tonnes of waste treated per annum.

The technology and available feedstock are now a proven match. The AD platform utilises a multi-stage mixing process, followed by digestion in a main fermenter and two secondary fermenters, gas cleaning and gas production. A final storage tank is used to pasteurise the digestate – the biodegradable material remaining after AD processing which helps offset chemical fertilizer use.

As part of managing the investment, Greensphere has spearheaded the end-to-end management of the platform’s build, commissioning, feedstock ramp-up, management team swap-outs and strengthening the operational capability of the team. Greensphere also managed and spearheaded the addition of an Air Liquide-constructed gas-to-grid facility onsite in 2015 and 2016, which increased the plant’s overall production capacity to approximately 7.4MWe, allowing the plant to also inject gas to the grid in addition to the existing electrical export capacity. Greensphere created the platform’s proprietary upstream procurement evaluation process, including the development of the management team’s testing and research capabilities, which the Greensphere believes places the platform at a significant advantage in comparison to similar sized competitors.

In 2015 Greensphere led the platform’s ability to dispose of its end product in a long-term, well-resourced manner by partnering with an industry leading operator, Whites Recycling through long term contracts.

Capitalising on the site’s position in an industrial complex with transportation access and grid connections, the investment strategy emphasised a cost-efficient build with experienced counterparties (including BioConstruct and Air Liquide) to create a large, and therefore resilient, anaerobic digestion platform with a long-term life cycle and significant in-house operational, diagnostics and logistics capability.

In 2016 and 2017, Greensphere led the organic growth of the business into new areas consisting of Diagnostics and O&M Services through a new investment plan in Diagnostic and O&M equipment and service build-out. This business allows both Duranta’s own asset but also client assets to rapid-test and determine feedstock characteristics, tailor pricing for maximising profitability using proprietary curves and also manage the pathogen, nutrient and micro-nutrient biology of the system to maximise gas yields. With the move to a UKAS accredited lab, the diagnostic service will aim to reduce industry turn-around time to one day – with online or mobile feedback of results and limit thresholds back to client plants.

Duranta is estimated to yield a CO2 reduction of 23 kilotons per year and divert over 42,000 tonnes of biogenic material from landfill per year.

Duranta is an example of Greensphere’s capabilities in buy-to-build investment platforms as well as operating in an operationally complex sector while professionalising supply-chains in a sector with a poor history of professional contracting.

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