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Biomass exploitation potential

Landfill gas as a resource contributes 0.3 per cent to electricity production from renewable energies in Germany. It is grouped under biomass, which after wind energy currently accounts for the second largest proportion of power generation from renewable resources. This data has been calculated for 2013 by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. In addition to landfill gas, biowaste, sewage gas and biogas, the biomass category also includes biogenic liquid and solid fuels. Biogas makes the largest contribution to energy generation from biomass. According to figures released by the German Biogas Association, biogas contributed around four per cent to gross electricity consumption in Germany in 2013. In total, 7,850 biogas plants generated approx. 24 terawatt-hours of electricity.

For 2014, a sharp decline is expected in the construction of new biogas plants according to the study. Just 37 megawatts of additional capacity is forecast. This comes in response to an amendment to the German Renewable Energy Sources Act of 2014, which sees a reduction in funding.

Research projects for gas purification

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding research projects for biomass, in particular through the „Biomass Energy Utilisation“ support programme. Gas purification is currently addressed by the following two schemes, among others: The “Improved Biogas Upgrading to Biomethane by Ultrasonic–Stimulated CO2 Desorption at Low Temperatures” (CaviCap) project is concerned with alternative methods for the separation of gas components. Under the project management of engineering and consulting firm GICON, a prototype is being developed to separate CO2 from biogas with ultrasonic induced desorption. Prevalent amine scrubbing is found to be uneconomical in small-scale biogas plants owing to its temperature level. The project’s participants therefore are working on a new method to enrich methane through CO2 separation in the existing temperature range.

In the “Biowaste Methane” joint research project under the management of Fraunhofer UMSICHT, the project team is analysing the potential of biomethane from biowastes. The results are aimed at plant operators, disposal companies and local politicians. The study is focussed around investigating the need to adapt existing gas purification technologies for the treatment of biogas from waste materials sourced from bio-waste containers. The research team illustrates cost and proceeds structures in this regard as a basis for plant configuration and optimal supply. Recommendations are also presented for dealing with plant-related, organisational and economic obstacles.

Projektinfo 11/2014:
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Addresses

Project management, planning, development and commissioning of mobile test plant
Siloxa Engineering AG

Scientific support for gas analytics and plant operation
Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Links

Funding programme Biomass energy use
Website of the Funding programme of the German Federal Ministry for  Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

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