Research and Development Manage
Edgar Blanco was always intrigued by the smoke, heat and smell of the landfills where he played as a child. His interest in Geology and the environmental impact of human activity took him to the UK to study Environmental Earth Science, and then do an MSc on Environmental Technology and Water Management. The topic of his thesis “characterisation of treatment status for sewage sludge use in agriculture” made him aware of the complexity of bio-waste, and focused his interest on resource recovery from waste management.
For the last 19 years Edgar has worked as an industrial researcher targeting developments with measurable financial returns. His research career started at Anglian Water, where he worked and supervised postgraduate research in wastewater, including activated sludge (AS), sludge sonication, sludge liming optimisation, odour control, protozoan grazing in AS , and finally specialised on anaerobic digestion.
Since 2006, Edgar has been the Research and Development Manager at Andigestion Ltd, then a company making the transition from landfill gas recovery to anaerobic digestion. Edgar has provided the technical and scientific knowledge required for the transition and worked with regulators, industry, and academia, on the development of technical standards for the AD industry, such as the PAS110 standard for digestate. Other work includes collaborative research on the impact and benefits to soil ecology from digestate use in agriculture (Imperial College/DEFRA), optimising inputs and outputs of AD (Soton/EU-FP7). More recently, Edgar has been working on new feedstocks for AD from “green biomass” (PCT patent in progress), such as arable by-products, green waste, micro and macro algae, including collaborative research Cambridge University Plant Sciences Department on biogas from cyanobacteria and proposals for a H2020 project on arable by-products for AD.
Edgar developed two novel designs for research equipment into AD and fermentation (two PCT patents in progress) and in 2013 set-up Anaero Technology to focus on supplying research equipment, and collaborative research from his lab in Cambridge. Key areas of interests include the development of an Internet of Things concept for AD, using nano-sensors, in collaboration with Cambridge University Chemistry and Engineering Post Docs, and with York University. Edgar is starting, with UCL, a two- year Newton Fund project on low cost AD treatment of sugarcane vinasses from smallholdings in the Valle del Cauca region of Colombia.