New Verbio plant for the production of biomethane from straw commissioned as scheduled
Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG has successfully commissioned a site for the production of biomethane at Schwedt, Germany. The new plant uses a new internally generated technology to manufacture biomethane from 100% straw.
The development of this technology is supported by the European Union's NER 300 subsidy project, providing funding of up to €22.3 million over the period from 2014 to 2019.
Verbio has reached the first project milestone on schedule, feeding the first GWh of biomethane since October 2014 into the local natural gas network operated by Stadtwerke Schwedt.
Dr. Lüdtke, chairman of the management board of Verbio, says: 'With our straw biomethane technology we are demonstrating that second generation biofuels using local supply chains are no longer a thing of the future, but are today's reality. We appreciate the support provided by the European Union NER 300 programme, and see this as a clear EU commitment to the future of biofuels.'
'With this innovation Verbio is meeting the challenge to provide advanced biofuels. It provides an example of cascading the use of residual materials, providing a high level of greenhouse gas savings with a regional material life-cycle,' says Jörg Vogelsänger, Minister for Rural Development, Environment and Agriculture in the Federal State of Brandenburg. 'The plant demonstrates that Verbio's innovative technology is ready for production. It also demonstrates that we are no longer dependent on foodstuff raw materials to produce biofuels, but we can also use residual materials from agriculture for this purpose.'
De VERBIOstraw – as the subsidy project is officially called – is one of 15 projects funded by the NER 300 programme to date, and one of the first of these which has already generated actual production volumes.
Kerstin Lichtenvort, EU project coordinator for the NER 300 programme in Brussels, explains the subsidy award to Verbio: 'With this first-of-a-kind project, we will help protect the climate and make Europe less energy dependent. The innovative VERBIOstraw project is funded under the European Commission's NER 300 programme with €22 million because it demonstrates an advanced biogas technology at large scale. We welcome the private investment in this project which we need in Europe and the use of 100% agricultural residue which does not require farmland to be used to grow energy crops.'
Verbio has been the operator of two large biomethane plants since 2011, each with a capacity of 30MW. These plants produce approximately 480GWh of biomethane from distillation slop, a waste raw material by-product generated from bioethanol production, with the resulting biomethane used as biofuel for vehicles powered by natural gas.
The new plant, also developed internally, is based on mono straw fermentation technology. The plant will be extended to reach 16.5MW capacity by 2019, generating 140GWh of biomethane annually for sale as biofuel from approximately 40,000 tonnes of straw. To date, €25 million has already been invested in the construction of the plant and further amounts will be invested in the coming years to optimise the facility.
The straw used to fuel the plant is gathered within a radius of 80km of the plant to ensure maximum economic and ecological efficiency. In exchange, the fermentation waste is provided to farmers as organic fertilizer.