Constructing Silage Clamps For Anaerobic Digestion

Our coalition government is committed to increasing the amount of energy generated from waste products and therefore, efforts to increase the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) are in full swing. Anaerobic digestion is, in short, the process of fermenting organic matter to produce energy. The process mimics what happens inside the digestive system of a cow, without the need for oxygen.

AD plants are operating all over the country and new plants being constructed, aiming to eventually supply enough to cover half of the nation’s domestic gas requirement. But the success of these pursuits lies almost entirely in storing the silage under the right conditions.

 

Making the most of silage

When you’re gathering silage for anaerobic digestion, speed is key. You need to compact the silage quickly (and efficiently) to minimize the risk of contaminants and preserve the quality. Tight compaction and as little oxygen as possible are the twin goals.

 

Silage clamp design

The most robust, reliable silage clamps in AD plants are built with the use of precast concrete. You can use prestressed concrete panels, vertical panels and precast retaining walls to create a sturdy structure that will stand strong even when the load is high and vehicles of up to 10T are being used to fill the clamp and roll the silage. As speed is key, bumps and knocks are inevitable.

The most important thing to remember when building a silage clamp is the area of the silage face. When the face of the silage clamp is opened, oxygen is introduced and the contents can start to break down and even start a secondary fermentation. So, in order to minimise the amount of silage that is exposed, a small face is required.

Wall design

Because of the quantity of silage required to run an anaerobic digestion plant and nature of silage, the load that can be created (especially in those with high walls) can be massive, therefore more traditional materials just cannot cope. Precast concrete panels and retaining walls are proven to be able to cope with these loads and are therefore a good investment to make.

What’s more, the precast concrete walls can be manufactured off-site quickly and efficiently. All this makes the use of precast and prestressed concrete products the ideal option for AD plants.

 

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about building silage clamps, feel free to get in touch and find out more about how JP Concrete’s products can help you build a structure that is the key to your success. We’re always here to answer your questions!