EnviTec gas upgrading enjoys performance boost from improved membranes

Proven efficiency and flexibility from the biogas all-rounder

Lohne/Saerbeck, 11 February 2021 In six countries around the world, 49 EnviTec gas upgrading plants are now in operation, with a further 15 plants currently under construction—all part of the EnviThan success story for efficient and environmentally friendly gas upgrading technology. “In just eight years, our pioneering technique has become a benchmark for the international gas upgrading market,” says Jürgen Tenbrink, CTO at biogas all-rounder EnviTec.  

Driven by strong demand for gas upgrading ‘Made in Germany’, especially from Denmark and France, the company’s Saerbeck site also continues to grow. Production has also been expanded, following the leasing of suitable factory premises in the immediate vicinity. Warehouse space has also been enlarged to handle the logistics for the many orders currently flowing in from China.

Following its German market launch in 2012, the gas upgrading process developed by EnviTec and Evonik Industries rapidly achieved international renown with customer orders from China, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom. “In 2020, Estonia became the most recent country to be added to our order book,” explains Stefan Laumann, Head of EnviTec’s Gas Upgrading Department. “We already have two plants running there, and a third is now being built.” Yet the successful strategic partnership between EnviTec and Evonik does not intend to rest on its laurels: “Like Evonik, a global leader in speciality chemicals, EnviTec’s plant engineers are also dependent on innovation-driven development in our work,” Laumann explains, pointing to the continuous process of improvement undergone by membrane technology in recent years. “After achieving optimisations in the manufacturing process, we were able to increase the separation capacity from an initial 2,950 to 7,700 in 2018,” explains Volker Wehber, Director SEPURAN® Green in Evonik’s Business Segment Membranes. “In 2020, we then passed a new milestone by developing a high-performance polymer to achieve a separation capacity of 12,500.”  

The greater separation capacity makes fewer membranes necessary, which in turn leads to a higher upgrading capacity per container—“in a nutshell, we simply need less space for the membranes,” Laumann explains. While 270 4-inch modules were installed in the plant in Forst (Lausitz, Germany) in 2014, the new generation of membranes would today only need 60 6-inch modules.

“Within Germany as a whole, the potential for biomethane production is greater than previously acknowledged—and that also encourages us in our belief that we are on the right path with our technology,” Laumann continues. This potential was announced by the German gas and water industry association DVGW during a recent online conference. Together with the German Biogas Association, the DVGW presented the results of two new studies on biomethane in Germany. By 2050, the study authors argue that biomethane could cover the majority of domestic final energy demand—estimated at around 300 TWh. The current figure for biomethane production Germany is approximately 11 TWh. “However, to really exploit the full potential of biomethane, our industry does require full access to the power, heat and fuel markets without any discrimination—and there are still many improvements to be made in this respect,” Laumann concludes.

Find the results of the studies here / only available in German


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About EnviTec Biogas AG

As a biogas all-rounder, EnviTec Biogas AG covers the entire value chain for the production and upgrading of biogas, including the planning and turnkey construction of biogas plants and biogas upgrading plants as well as their commissioning. The company takes charge of biological and technical services on demand, and also offers integrated plant and operational management services. EnviTec operates 76 of its own plants, making it the largest biogas producer in Germany. EnviTec’s business interests also include the direct marketing of upgraded biomethane as well as the marketing of electricity and balancing energy. The company is represented in 16 countries worldwide by its own companies, sales offices, strategic partners and joint ventures. In 2019, the EnviTec Group generated revenue of EUR 213.6 million and EBIT of EUR 10.3 million. The Group currently employs over 450 people worldwide. EnviTec Biogas AG has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since July 2007.

Katrin Hackfort
EnviTec Biogas AG
Tel.: +49 2574 8888–810
Email: k.hackfort@envitec-biogas.de