Lohne, 13 March 2017 – The most northerly village in North Rhine-Westphalia is setting standards in flexibilisation. With the addition of two combined heat and power (CHP) units from GE Jenbacher, the operators of Bioenergie Preußisch Ströhen are investing in the future of their biogas plant in the Minden-Lübbecke district. The twin 500 kW standard plant now offers the option of seasonal operation. “This makes it possible to increase the volume of heat sold in the winter months,” explains Gerd Meemken, sales consultant at EnviTec Service GmbH & Co KG.
The plant has been equipped with two 901 kW CHP units. “The 4 Series from GE Jenbacher gives a real boost to the plant’s energy conversion efficiency,” enthuses Meemken, who also notes that the plant features a perfect start-up/shutdown procedure thanks to the use of the TecJet process developed by GE. “Plants using flexibilisation really have to run like clockwork in terms of start-up and shutdown,” says Meemken.
With a flexibilised system, biogas plant operators like Hermann Stratmann from Bioenergie Preußisch Ströhen are also well-equipped to face a future without EEG subsidies, as EnviTec Sales Director Jan Meistermann explains: “Unlike wind and solar power plants, flex plants like Bioenergie Preußisch Ströhen can generate power to match demand at specific times – which also makes them interesting for network operators.” This is also the intended effect of the German government’s bonus systems: only those operators who flexibilise their CHP output and orient green electricity generation on demand can stay independent and turn a profit.
As renewables continue to expand, there is a growing need for dispatchable power generation plant whose feed-in can be quickly matched to demand. Accordingly, says Meistermann, flexible plant technology represents a key competitive advantage for plant operators. As Meistermann goes on to explain, “flexibilisation typically involves boosting the performance of a CHP plant and expanding the gas storage volume.” Whether this is ultimately achieved by adding a CHP plant or replacing an old CHP plant with a new unit offering greater output is decided on a plant-by-plant basis.
“One key focus we have at EnviTec Biogas is on the increasing use of heat,” says Meistermann. According to Lower Saxony’s Climate Protection and Energy Agency, around two thirds of final energy demand in Germany’s manufacturing and industry sectors result from providing process heat. The vast majority of this process heat escapes from production unused, however. The government agency estimates that around 20% of the theoretical waste heat potential could actually be utilised cost-effectively in Lower Saxony.
“This is exactly what we are addressing with our container construction for heat storage units,” says Meistermann. A prestressed concrete container with extra lagging/sealing and technical systems is used not only to deploy process heat as a sustainable source of energy but to actually put this heat into storage. This increases the plant’s overall cost effectiveness, since this step works to significantly lower energy costs. “Additional revenue can also be earned from the sale of excess energy,” adds Meistermann. Another positive side effect is that process heat re-use makes a positive contribution to building energy performance, resulting in a considerable boost to the company’s image as a sustainable energy user. In conclusion, while anyone making their plant fit for the future by adding a large CHP unit has to accept occasional running times in which no electricity can be produced, they can nonetheless reap the benefits from a heating model based on intelligent waste heat storage. To date, EnviTec has flexibilised a total of five biogas plants, including one plant managed as a company-owned operation. “We’re currently talking to around ten other established plant operators about potential flexibilisation packages,” says Meistermann.
About EnviTec Biogas AG
EnviTec Biogas AG covers the entire value chain for the production 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 full plant and operational management. In addition, EnviTec also operates its own biogas plants. In 2011, EnviTec Biogas along with EnviTec Energy GmbH & Co. KG and its 100% subsidiary EnviTec Stromkontor GmbH & Co. KG expanded its business operations into the direct marketing of upgraded biomethane as well as the marketing of green electricity and balancing energy. With a presence in 17 countries worldwide, EnviTec Biogas AG is represented by its own companies, sales offices, strategic partners and joint ventures. In 2015, EnviTec generated revenue of €174.9 million and EBIT of €3.4 million. The EnviTec Group currently has around 370 employees. EnviTec Biogas has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since July 2007.
EnviTec Biogas AG
Tel: +49 2574 8888-810