Biomethane production boosts the AD in Europe

The first of eight France-based gas-to-grid (GtG) projects being developed by MT-Energie, a provider of anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas upgrading systems, has started injecting upgraded biomethane into the gas grid.

According to a company statement, a group of farmers from the Champagne region are behind the eight projects in France after they decided to become 'energy entrepreneurs' last year.

Each single triple-tank facility is designed for a gas treatment capacity of 250 Nm3, which is equivalent to an electrical capacity of around 500kW. The first plant overcame its mechanical and biological commissioning in less than one month.

According to MT-Energie, the eight projects will be injecting over 10.5 million Nm3 per year of biomethane into the French grid.

Biogas is produced through the anaerobic digestion of agricultural residues and cover crops and is then purified through a gas separation process which uses Evonik membrane modules. The technology is supplied by MT-Energie in conjunction with its sister company MT-Biomethan.

MT-Energie biomethane expert, Timo Vaske, explains the reason why anaerobic digestion is more and more driven by the production of biomethane and not only electricity: 'Opting for biogas upgrading to biomethane can be a profitable alternative to traditional CHP concepts, producing only electricity. Some countries, such as Germany, France, the UK, and Italy, are recognising the contribution of AD to gas self-sufficiency, by issuing favourable incentives. In some cases, for example in the eight French projects, the electrical grid connection was also not suitable for the power produced, while the connection to the gas grid was carried out without problems.'

MT-Energie also says it has officially inaugurated an upgrading plant with gas injection into the German grid – the largest of its kind to be built by the company. The client is SuedZucker, the largest sugar producer in Europe, based in Leipzig.

The plant processes maize, sugar beet pulp, alfalfa and whole crop silage and consists of four solid feeders, two secondary digesters, five residue storage tanks and a gas treatment facility with a capacity of 1,400 Nm3 per hour. A total of approximately 12.2 million m3 of biogas per year are produced in the new biogas plant. The energy generated is enough to power about 6,000 households and 2,000 households with heat.

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