Contractor appointed to build anaerobic plant at AECC/TECA

A contractor has been appointed to build an anaerobic digestion gas to grid plant which will take the city’s food waste, agricultural crops, and waste products to produce biogas to power the multi-million-pound new TECA arena, conference centre and exhibition building.

Austrian-based specialist company Thöni Industriebetriebe GmbH is to construct the anaerobic digestion gas to grid (AD G2G) plant which will produce green gas and inject it into the national grid.

The plant will take the city’s food waste alongside crop fuels and waste products from agriculture, to produce biogas which will be upgraded to biomethane and injected into the natural gas grid and piped to the onsite Energy Centre at TECA.

TECA arena, conference centre and exhibition building is part of the new AECC project which includes two on-site hotels, an energy centre, extensive landscaping and parking. The entire site is being built by Aberdeen City Council along with development partner Henry Boot Developments (HBD), and main contractor Robertson Group.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “The AD plant project powering the TECA complex underpins the position of Aberdeen as a world-class city for energy and innovation and the centre as the place to see how energy, environment and business can be integrated on a truly significant scale.

“We are in the midst of the most important period of transformation Aberdeen has ever experienced including an increased focus on renewable energy sources as part of our regional economic strategy, and it’s fantastic that TECA can lead on that.

“The quality and scale of TECA is designed to attract global events and acts, supporting our ambitions to grow the number of visitors we attract from local, regional, national and international markets, and we’re delighted that the renewable energy from the AD plant will be part of that.”

TECA will provide a new world-class facility for Scotland beside Aberdeen International Airport, and the new city bypass. The 12,500-capacity main arena will host conferences, exhibitions and music concerts, and is expected to attract major artists and events to the city. The facility will also boast three further conference/exhibition halls, four multi-purpose conference suites, and nine meeting rooms.

The interiors of the facility are being fitted out with progress on internal blockwork, metal stud partitions, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing installations continuing, and rooms taking shape include the main area, exhibition halls, and conference rooms.

The facility is expected to contribute an additional 4.5million visitors, £113m of visitor spend and £63million net Gross Value Added to the Scottish economy, over 10 years. It will also result in the creation of 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations.

The AD G2G plant is an integral part of TECA and in connection with the onsite energy centre is one of the key income streams for the development., and will receive a subsidy from UK Government which is guaranteed for 20 years, in the form of the Renewable Heat Incentive.

The plant will process 81,000 tonnes feedstock per annum, and 41,300 tonnes of this will be waste materials (OFGEM require at least 50% waste or residuals), and the rest will be crop-based.

The plant will enable the TECA building to achieve a BREEAM Excellent standard and to meet the sustainability criteria of the building standards, and has been designed with the capability if it needs to connect to the mains gas grid. The plant is designed to produce 425m3/h of gas for injection into the grid with 200m3/h for 8,000 hours per year to go to the energy centre.

Thoeni is a family-owned company founded in 1964 and with headquarters located in Tyrol in Austria, and has been building renewable energy facilities for more than 25 years. The company has been working closely with Target Renewables Ltd based in Ayr, Scotland, since 2013 and has successfully built several digestion facilities in the UK.

Robert Lackner of Thoeni said: “We’re really excited both about the project itself but also in being part of the story. Even more so, as this is part of show case for “the future of energy supply” in the middle of the centre of the fossil gas and oil industry.”

Robin Szmidt of Target Renewables said: “I’m looking forward to the project becoming not just an engineering success but also a success for the new AECC, the city, and the local community.”

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