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Pre-pressing organic waste and feeding liquid to bacteria
09.12.2014

Generating biogas in composting plants

Composting plants can do more than just convert the content of organic waste containers into nutrient-rich soil. If the facilities are supplemented with an additional biogas stage, energy can also be generated there. To achieve this, the organic waste is pre-pressed and the liquid generated is digested in digesters. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Organic waste: combining compost and biogas” (17/2014) presents this process for generating biogas along with the initial practical experiences. The developers have paid particular attention to achieving an economical process that is not susceptible to faults.

The new method produces not just compost but also biogas. The organic liquid separated from the organic waste during pressing provides the nutrient that is fed to bacteria in the newly developed bio-film digesters. The biogas generated in the process can be converted into electricity in a CHP plant or fed into the natural gas grid. The method has proved its robustness in practical testing. The squeezed organic waste is then passed through the usual composting processes and at the end produces compost of an almost unchanged quality. Particularly because of the mechanical ventilation systems, composting plants were previously only energy consumers.

The addition of a biogas stage enables the capacity of existing composting plants to be increased by 10 to 15% with the same energy requirement and without expanding. The method was developed by the Sutco Recyclingtechnik company in collaboration with the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Entsorgungs-Gesellschaft Westmünsterland (EGW) waste disposal company. The practical tests took place at its composting plant in Gescher, Germany.

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Press release
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Projektinfo
(4 pages, pdf, 0.9 MB)

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Figure 1: The new process is integrated within an existing composting facility. The digestion takes place in four digesters connected in series. (© Sutco Recyclingtechnik GmbH)

Figure 1:
The new process is integrated within an existing composting facility. The digestion takes place in four digesters connected in series. (© Sutco Recyclingtechnik GmbH)

Figure 2: Aerial view of the composting plant in Gescher (Germany). (© Entsorgungs-Gesellschaft Westmünsterland)

Figure 2:
Aerial view of the composting plant in Gescher (Germany). (© Entsorgungs-Gesellschaft Westmünsterland)