Green Energy

  • Energy from Biogas to Keep Swiss Army Warm

Energy from Biogas to Keep Swiss Army Warm

Jul 16 2012

In May, WELTEC BIOPOWER GmbH (Germany) started building a biogas plant with an electrical output of 370 kW in Bure in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The plant‘s entire heat surplus will be used to heat the local training barracks.

The plant site in the Swiss Canton of Jura boasts fertile soil and a lot of agriculture. Therefore, the "Bio.Etique. Energie SA“ plant will mainly process farm manure from the surrounding agricultural establishments and agro-industrial waste from the region, including liquid manure, dung, green waste, and grain waste.

Owing to the composition of the organic resources, the WELTEC plant will make use of wet fermentation. This technology, which is common in agricultural biogas plants, is especially suitable for the utilisation of heterogeneous wastes and does not require any additives.

The substrates are loaded into a fermenter of 3,994 cubic metres with the help of a 45 cubic metres solid matter dosing feeder. A gas-tight storage unit with a capacity of 4,078 cubic metres is large enough for storing the digestate.

From November 2012, the WELTEC plant will feed in a net electricity production of 3 GWh/year into the power grid, an amount is sufficient to continually supply 900 homes with power. The plant‘s excess heat of 2.6 GWh/year will be used to heat the barracks in Bure, which hosts up to 1,400 trainees.

Apart from the smart extraction of the available heat, Claude Etique was impressed by the overall process concept of the WELTEC premium plants: „Compared to other concepts available on the market, WELTEC BIOPOWER is the right choice. The same also applies to the entire project organisation with French-speaking WELTEC staff.“

In the future, clearly defined project processes could be decisive for the placement of biogas plant construction orders, as Switzerland, like Germany, decided in 2011 to gradually abandon nuclear energy. However, this will require substantial investments, especially for the development of the power production from renewable energy sources. The goal is to increase the power generation from renewable energies by one third by 2050.

Due to the ongoing availability of the raw material and its positive eco-balance, biogas is considered to have a great potential as an energy source. According to a forecast, the Swiss could cover about 4.5 percent of their power requirements and 5 percent of their heat requirements from this energy source. Moreover, about half a million vehicles in Switzerland could run on biogas for an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometer.

Resources for biogas are bountiful: About 20 million tonnes of liquid manure, dung, organic waste, and crop residue, which are suitable for generating biogas, accumulate in the Swiss agriculture alone. The farm manure used in Bure only 1.5 percent of which are currently used in Switzerland for energy generation purposes has the greatest raw material potential.

 


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