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Danish bioenergy companies explore turning biomass to biogas

Novozymes, Novo Nordisk, Dong Energy, and Bigadan are investigating the possibility of producing biomass-based biogas.

If the results from the pre-investigation, expected to last a year or more, confirm the preliminary analyses, the parties intend to go ahead and realise biogas production.

​In Kalundborg, Denmark, Novo Nordisk and Novozymes have extensive factory facilities, which produce enzymes and insulin that are sold all over the world.

Biomass is a by-product from this production and is already used as a fertiliser on fields and also by Novo Nordisk to produce biogas at installations around Zealand, the largest Danish island.

However, a project to explore the possibilities of also using this biomass for biogas production is now entering a new phase with Bigadan and Dong chosen as partners for the study.

The parties are now conducting more detailed analyses of the biogas potential and looking to have a new plant approved by the relevant authorities.

If the project is realised, Bigadan and Dong will build and own the biogas plant, the plan being to build it close to Asnæs Power Station, which lies just south of Kalundborg.

Novo Nordisk and Novozymes will supply biomass from their factories in the city and from their facility at Fuglebakken in Copenhagen.

The new biogas plant will be capable of transforming biomass into biogas, which will then be upgraded to biomethane, the most eco-friendly type of gas.

The upgraded gas will finally be fed into the natural gas grid.

Preliminary analyses indicate that it could be possible to produce six million m3 of natural gas annually, corresponding to the annual consumption of approximately 4,000 households.

Even after the biomass has been processed at the biogas plant, it can still be used as fertiliser at farms on Zealand, as is the case now. 

The parties expect to be ready to make the final investment decision in the course of the next 12 months, and if the project gets the go-ahead, the plant could be ready for commissioning in early 2018.