Environmental Biotechnology Network

EBNet Working Group: Anaerobic Digestion


Small AD plant on dairy/free range chicken farm

Through its activities the WG will aim to engage stakeholders from trade bodies, industry, water utilities and government departments such as the EA, Defra, BEIS and others.

What’s Next for AD? – The EBNet Anaerobic Digestion Working Group

Current generation anaerobic digesters provide a sustainable and low-carbon treatment of organic waste and wastewater sludges using mature technology, with growth in the sector predominantly determined by the increased capture of AD-appropriate organic wastes. Despite this there remain exciting opportunities both in the improvement of existing AD processes and technologies (e.g. emerging feedstocks, pre-treatment, process intensification), and in the development of novel applications and new markets beyond the current AD status quo (e.g. biorefining/high value products, green hydrogen, biomethanation). The group will bring together relevant interdisciplinary expertise to explore ‘What’s next for AD?’ and how the wealth of historical and current research combined with existing expertise in this field can contribute to the next generation of anaerobic biotechnologies across the energy, food, agriculture, water and biomanufacturing sectors. The group will aim to strengthen the link between the AD research community, policy makers and industry to ensure activities support both near- and long-term industrial needs. Initially the group will act as a hub for collaboratively assessing the opportunities, challenges and barriers, with more specific outcomes developed through these scoping activities.


Contact the Working Group co-ordinator: Dr Mark Walker, University of Hull.

Mark is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Hull and programme coordinator for the MSc Energy Engineering. Mark has over 10 years of research experience and has worked on 15+ academic and industrial innovation projects in the areas of bioprocessing, bio-based production, and bioenergy, with a particular focus on anaerobic digestion for waste and wastewater management and its integration into larger energy, biorefinery or agricultural systems. Mark’s research uses lab scale systems and process modelling to appraise and develop novel bioprocesses, to inform integrated models that can be used to design, analyse and optimise systems that involve combinations of technologies, and assess them against sustainability criteria using techniques such as technoeconomic assessment (TEA), carbon footprints and lifecycle assessment (LCA). Email mark.walker[at]hull.ac.uk with “EBNet Working Group” in the subject in the first instance.

WG Activities

Several of our members attended the IEA TASK 37 workshop: Strategies for emission control on biogas upgrading plants – ZHAW Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Switzerland (and online), 25 October 2023. More information is here.

Were you at the ADBA Spring meeting, hosted by EBNet at the University of Southampton? Connecting research/industry – 20/4/23.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Did you catch Dr Mark Walker at the joint EBNet/Carbon Recycling Network webinar “CO2 Biomethanation” – 26/5/22.

Join the EBNet webinar, Chaired by Dr Mark Walker, for “Advances in Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors” – Wed 7 Dec 22 at 13.00–15.00. Webinar recording of Prof van Lier and Prof Jefferson is here; registered attendees who wish to listen to Dr Pacheco-Ruiz’s talk can contact us for the link.

EBNet funding has been obtained for the AD Working Group to assess “Food Waste Behaviour” within university systems to improve food/food waste behaviour and recycling rates. Contact the Chair for more information.

Selected publications

Experimental Evaluation of Continuous In-Situ Biomethanation of CO2 in Anaerobic Digesters Fed on Sewage Sludge and Food Waste and the Influence of Hydrogen Gas–Liquid Mass Transfer
By: Davide Poggio, Arman Sastraatmaja, Mark Walker, Stavros Michailos, William Nimmo and Mohamed Pourkashanian. In:Processes 2023, 11(2), 604