Weltec Biopower’s biomethane refinery in Germany is a glimpse into the future that supplies enough energy for 5,000 homes. Director Jens Albartus explains
After a build time of just eight months, one of Germany‘s largest biomethane refineries has gone live in Arneberg and has been supplying the public grid since May. The plant stands in stark contrast to the abandoned nuclear power station building site next door, a vivid reminder of an era of conventional energy production. The station was supposed to become the largest nuclear power plant of the German Democratic Republic but was abandoned due to soaring costs and public opposition.
Weltec believes that biomethane is the energy source of the future. The Biomethane refinery in Arneburg demonstrates that we must provide the right answer to the growing demand for biomethane for the various utilisation paths. This sustainability is also highlighted by the fact that Nordmethan has created 10 regular jobs and two training jobs.
The biomethane plant is operated by Nordmethan from Vechta, in Lower Saxony, and was designed by Weltec Biopower. It has four digesters of 4,900 m3, six digestate storage units of 5,000 m3 and a liquid reservoir. The plant produces 1,650 standard m3 of raw biogas an hour and 250 m3 of this raw material is used for the heat needs of the plant.
Through chemical amine treatment, the gas is converted into about 700 standard m3 of processed biomethane an hour, with a methane content of 99%, which is enough to supply 5,000 homes with power and heat.
A solid matter dosing feeder loads maize silage, whole-plant grain, sugar beets as well as dry chicken dung, chicken manure, liquid manure and water as substrates into the stainless-steel digesters. In total, the material delivered by local farmers amounts to more than 70,000 tonnes a year.
As Altmark is a region traditionally characterised by agriculture, with a high proportion of grassland, the plant site is attractive as the raw material supply is plentiful and close by. This is one of the reasons why since 2009, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) has been promoting this historical cultural landscape with a special regional development concept as one of Germany‘s 25 bioenergy regions.
The plant is also based within the Altmark Industrial and Commercial Zone, which boasts exceptionally good transport connections for the movement of substrate and digestate to, and from, the site. Due to these optimum conditions other companies that also depend on plant materials have also settled here.
Who is Weltec Biopower?
Weltec Biopower has been manufacturing biogas plants for the past 12 years and describes itself as a pioneer in the sector. It builds plants in a modular structure and develops most of the technologies along the entire value chain internally: digester technology, mixing technology, control technology, hygienisation systems, and digestate processing solutions all originate from the company.
It uses stainless steel digestors to ensure a long useful life for the plant, as the hydrogen sulphide and ammonia compounds contained in biogas corrode unprotected parts.
The company delivers individual and flexible solutions worldwide – from compact plants to large computer-controlled plants in the megawatt range, waste recycling plants, and biogas parks with gas processing technology.