In the summer of 2020, the German plant manufacturer Weltec Biopower will start building a biogas plant in Veria, northern Greece. The main investor and operator of the project is one of the largest abattoirs for cattle and pigs in Greece. The 500-kW plant – which Weltec has planned in collaboration with its Greek partner Tetoros Machinery in Megara – is set to go live as early as mid-November 2020.
For many years, a lot of animal waste has accumulated in the north of Greece. According to the Greek research institute CRES, the waste from animal husbandry and slaughtering throughout Greece amounts to 17.5 million t/year. This corresponds to a potential biogas capacity of approximately 370 MW. The capacity currently installed in Greece is only about 83 MW.
The new Weltec plant in Veria will make use part of these resources for the generation of energy. The anaerobic digestion process will mainly use cattle manure and meat processing leftovers. Apart from these substrates, the 4,903-m3 stainless-steel digester will also be fed with production wastewater and fats. The input substances will come from the operator’s own abattoir and farms as well as from farmers in the vicinity.
The highly efficient digestion will start with a customised input process. For this purpose, the substrates will first be loaded into a 60-m3 moving floor feeder. The feeder will transport solid substrates, such as orange peels, to the Multi-Mix unit, where they will shredded and then pumped to the digester. Liquid substrates will be pumped directly into the digester from two storage units. “Following the digestion process, the entire digestate will be treated in a downstream hygienisation unit”, explains Alain Priser, International Sales Manager at Weltec Biopower.
Meanwhile, Greek investors are looking for such custom-tailored plants in order to make profitable and climate-neutral use of the wide variety of raw materials. This is the only way how the share of renewable energies in the power generation can be doubled from the current level of 30 percent to 60 percent in 2030. This target was defined in National Energy and Climate Plan 2021 to 2030 (NECP) adopted by Greece. An intermediate step will be to shut down 14 coal-fired power plants in the next five years. Besides natural gas, renewable energies are to play a key role in closing the resulting power supply gap.
In the coming decade, Greece will invest some €9 billion in such plants. During this period, the installed biogas and biomass utilisation capacity is expected to triple. In this process, new laws are to provide investment security. “The Greek power grid operators will be required to preferentially connect these plants to the grid, purchase their electricity and pay defined minimum prices”, explains Weltec’s Greek partner John Tetoros. Tetoros Machinery and Weltec Biopower have collaborated in the Greek energy reform since 2007. With a portfolio of 18 plants and extensions that they have set up, they are the market leader for biogas plants in Greece. Based on the concept of the latest plant in Veria, more plants are likely to be added to the portfolio.
Aalborg Energie Technik secures Order
Aalborg Energie Technik a/s (AET) will assist Novawood in achieving cleaner air and preventing soil contamination in addition to providing a commercial income from waste wood and railway sleepers, which were previously seen as a waste product.
By building a biomass-fired cogeneration plant, Novacarb aims to improve its environmental performance while maintaining its competiveness. In partnership with ENGIE Solutions a dedicated company has been created: Novawood.
The high-efficient cogeneration plant, Novawood, will produce steam for the Novacarb site in Laneuveville-devant-Nancy and power for the grid by combusting waste products. ENGIE Solutions will, as main contractor, arrange fuel collection from two sources: Railway sleepers from the French national railway company (SNCF) and waste wood from SOVEN.
The plant is in accordance with ENGIE Solutions’ strategy to support industries by providing them with solutions to the challenge of the energy transition. Their goal is to achieve: Optimised use of resources, increased supply and use of local, green energy as well as a more environmentally friendly production.
Novacarb is part of the Mineral Specialties division of the SEQENS group and specialises in the production and marketing of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate. Production has taken place for more than 160 years at this site and the products are made from two natural raw materials: Limestone extracted from its quarry in Pagny-sur-Meuse and salt from its Lénoncourt salt farms.
Novacarb’s goal with Novawood is to reduce the site’s dependence on the highly polluting coal by approx. 40% and reduce the CO2 emissions by 150,000 tonnes per year. With an investment of 80 mEUR, the biomass-fired cogeneration plant will supply steam for their production plant and it will also supply 115 GWh of green electricity per year to the national electricity network, corresponding to an annual consumption at around 65,000 households.
Energy will be produced from combusting two fuels: waste wood and railway sleepers. Waste wood, which is sourced through collection centres, consisting of e.g. scrapped furniture, floors, doors, windows and pallets and is handled by SOVEN. By combusting old railway sleepers a new business area is being created and the modernisation of the National Rail Network owned by SNCF can be made in an environmentally friendly way.
The fuel transformation is also an economic aspect for Novacarb, as the gradually increasing carbon tax price affects the competitiveness of the company. As a major local work place, it directly employs 300 people and 150 people from outside companies, who are permanently on site. Novacarb’s activity generates 900 local jobs, or a total employment pool of around 1,350 people. The Novawood project will help develop the region’s economy and attractiveness through the creation and sustainability of local jobs. The project will be a benchmark in terms of energy transition, circular economy and local job creation.
The Novawood project began in 2014 with talks between the parties (Novacarb, ENGIE Solutions and SNCF), followed by discussions at local and national levels. The operating authorisation was obtained in MAR 2018, and the project was announced as a winner of CRE 5 in DEC 2019.
The plant will annually combust around 130,000 tonnes of railway sleepers and waste wood, which would otherwise have been disposed of, and instead produce 55 tonnes steam/hour to Novacarb and 14,6 MWe of green electricity for export to the grid.
The railway sleepers contain creosote, PAH compounds and other chemicals from trains and are classified as hazardous waste. The creosote, which is tar containing phenolic compounds, can evaporate from the surface and/or be released into the soil. The waste wood in this case, includes Chromated Copper Arsenate treated wood, and therefore has, amongst other things, a high content of Copper. However, the combination of AET Combustion System, AET Biomass Boiler and flue gas cleaning ensures very low emissions, which comply with the European emission limits as a minimum. The plant is designed in accordance with WID.
The AET Biomass Boiler will be designed for a fuel heat input of 65 MWt, a boiler efficiency of 92% and a steam temperature of 522 oC, which ensure a high overall plant efficiency. To protect the boiler against corrosion it is equipped with Inconel cladding and special alloy steel for the superheaters.
AET is responsible for engineering, procurement and construction of the AET Biomass Boiler, including AET Combustion System, AET SNCR DeNOx System, boiler house, flue gas treatment, tail-end heat exchanger and PLC control system. The tail-end heat exchanger, which is positioned after the flue gas treatment, cools the flue gas temperature by more than 30 oC. The regenerated energy is, amongst other things, used at an ORC plant, which produces power. It thereby increases the overall plant efficiency further.
The in-house power consumption for the boiler plant is only approx. 1,6% of the fuel heat input and thereby increases the net power production.
The plant is planned to start power generation in the second half of 2022.
Alain Guillerme, Project Realization Director, Novawood: “As every industrial customer, NOVACARB requires a reliable steam supply and a high boiler availability. ENGIE has several AET Biomass Boilers in its portfolio, being operated for years. The experience from these sites is very good with low maintenance issues. In addition, the AET design offers high efficiencies, which is a critical criteria for an industrial plant operating all along the year. Lastly, the good experience we had with the AET project management has convinced ENGIE Solutions to sign with them for the Novawood project.”
“We are pleased to continue the cooperation with ENGIE Solutions and now with combustion of railway sleepers and waste wood; waste wood is an up-coming fuel in France. The high steam temperature, with combustion of railway sleepers and waste wood in this case, is essential to make a viable business case for ENGIE Solutions and Novacarb. At AET, we are very happy to take a new step with Novawood, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 150.000 tonnes per year”, says CEO of AET Lars Kristensen.
AET has previously supplied plants, which burns waste wood/railway sleepers in Germany, Austria and United Kingdom.
Regenerative storage power plant
ETW Energietechnik expands biogas plant
In Wehrbleck in Lower Saxony, the company ETW Energietechnik from Moers expanded an agricultural biogas plant into a regenerative storage power plant in 2019. The CHP experts were supported by the planning company Energethik from Osnabrück. In addition to the new Flex CHP with the TCG 2020 V20 biogas engine from MWM with 2 megawatts, electric and 2.3 megawatts, thermally, ETW also installed a combined gas storage tank with 8,490 and a heat storage tank with 1,000 cubic metres. The total investment amounts to 1.6 million euros.
Since 2001, farmer Andreas Rohlfs has been operating a biogas plant with an area of around 235 hectares. Based on the input materials maize, dung and liquid manure, the operator generated around 5.4 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy and 4.1 million kilowatt hours of thermal energy before the expansion. Since its expansion into a storage power plant, the plant now produces 5.7 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy and almost 5.8 million kilowatt hours of heat per year. The electricity is fed into the grid; the waste heat is fed into a district heating network for heating private and municipal buildings and is used to dry wood chips. Part of the heat is diverted to keep the engine warm when it is not running. This allows the direct marketer to quickly restart the engine if necessary and immediately access the full output of the CHP.
In addition to the increase in output, the plant now operates flexibly. In return, Rohlfs will earn an additional flexibility surcharge of 40 euros per kilowatt over the next five years. Afterwards, the farmer can optionally apply for a further ten-year EEG payment by means of a tender. His main advantage: thanks to the Flex CHP, his plant is now operated in such a way that electricity and heat can always be fed in at the most productive time of day. For this purpose, the biogas plant is controlled by a direct marketer in such a way that the storage tanks are always optimally filled when prices are at their highest and that the largest possible quantities of electricity and heat are available for this purpose.
The plant is powered by desulphurised biogas. For this purpose, the sulphur content is conditioned down from around 5,000 parts per million (ppm) to around 2 ppm. A safety alarm with integrated stop of the gas supply to the storage protects the CHP at a sulphur content above 2 ppm. This is particularly necessary because the sulphur content can rise faster in flex operation. After the preventive shutdown, operation of the engine is maintained with the gas from the storage tank.
„In order to be prepared for future NOx limits, ETW has already reserved the necessary space on the CHP container for an SCR catalytic converter. The plans also take into account a reserve for exhaust back pressure,“ explains Alexander Szabo, the responsible sales manager at ETW Energietechnik.
The variation of the substrate quantities also contributes to the flexibility of the CHP operation. This makes it possible to reduce biogas production at low electricity prices so that the CHP unit can be shut down for up to two days if necessary without overloading the gas storage tank. The heat storage tank can store 40,600 kilowatt hours of thermal energy and thus supply the heating network for around 50 hours without the CHP unit having to be put into operation. The bottom line is that the CO2 savings achieved by the regenerative storage power plant in electricity production can be estimated at 2,683 tonnes per year and in heat production, including process heat, at around 1,300 tonnes.
Two additional production halls
Expansion of capacities for the production of consumables
The Eppendorf Group is expanding its production capacity at the Oldenburg in Holstein site in Germany by building two additional production halls. As a result, Eppendorf Polymere GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eppendorf AG, will increase its total capacity by around 30 percent from 2021. A milestone for this targeted expansion was reached May 14, 2020 with the topping-out ceremony for the second hall currently under construction. The first hall has already been completed and will start production operations this month.
In Oldenburg, Eppendorf produces laboratory consumables made of high-quality plastic such as pipette tips and tubes, microtiter plates and single-use bioreactor vessels. Currently, these products are in particularly high demand from diagnostic laboratories and vaccine manufacturers around the world who are researching vaccines against the corona virus or carrying out Sars Cov-2 tests.
“We are registering a steady increase in demand for consumables from Eppendorf. The current global battle against the corona virus is just reinforcing this trend,” says Dr. Wilhelm Plüster, Chief Technology Officer at Eppendorf AG. “With the construction of the two new production halls we are responding to this trend, which has been continuing for years. In addition, sustainability was taken into account in the construction of the buildings.” continues Plüster. The two production halls will be heated and cooled by an existing combined heat and power plant. This will considerably reduce energy consumption.