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EnviTec Biogas boosts German biomethane market with EnviThan

EnviThan biogas processing in Köckte successfully starts operations

(PresseBox) (Lohne, ) High purity biomethane fed directly into the natural gas network - this is what is being supplied by Bioenergie Köckte GmbH & Co.KG in Saxony-Anhalt with immediate effect. The 350 standard cubic metre EnviThan gas upgrading plant from the Lower Saxon biogas plant constructor EnviTec Biogas feeds biomethane into the 1-bar pipeline in the E.ON Avacon network. The customer is EnviTec Energy GmbH & Co.KG, a subsidiary of EnviTec Biogas AG, which is responsible for the direct marketing of processed biomethane, green electricity and balancing energy. "We use the biomethane produced in Köckte in decentralised combined heat and power (CHP) stations to generate electricity and heat, for which there are already contracts for supplying heat," says Alfred Gayer, Managing Director of EnviTec Energy.

With the direct feed-in of the processed biomethane the green energy source can be transported and later used decentrally at any location. Up to now biogas has been used locally. In order to be able to feed biogas into the existing natural gas network, however, it first has to be purified and conditioned. This is done in Köckte using the innovative biogas upgrading technology EnviThan.

To carry out this environmentally friendly and extremely cost efficient procedure EnviTec Biogas equips its upgrading plants with membrane modules from Evonik Industries. "The hollow fibre membranes purify the raw biogas generated in biogas plants to a particularly high degree of purity of more than 97 per cent content," says Jürgen Tenbrink, Technical Director of the company based in Lohne. With the cooperation with Evonik Industries that has existed since the beginning of 2012 and with its unique selling proposition as a fully integrated biogas provider, EnviTec Biogas has once again convinced as an all-rounder with technological foresight on the market.

Alongside the demonstration plant in Sachsendorf, which started operations in October 2012, Köckte is now the second location at which biomethane is successfully produced on an industrial scale using EnviThan technology. "We found the best conditions for this in Köckte," praises Alfred Gayer, looking back at the cooperation with the operator. He added there was not a perfect connection to the gas network directly on site and reliable raw material supplies from two nearby agricultural businesses everywhere. The upstream biogas plant, which is operated with maize and whole crop silage as well as cattle slurry, and the EnviThan biogas upgrading plant have since offered jobs to four employees and two apprentices.

Using EnviThan, operators such as Bioenergie Köckte profit from the benefits provided by the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG) for processed biogas. Thus CHP station operators that use upgraded biogas receive a gas preparation bonus on top of the electricity payment. According to a current report from the Federal Network Agency, in 2012 all the biomethane plants put together fed 413 million standard cubic metres of biomethane into the German gas network - Köckte is now one of a total of 108 biomethane feed-in plants in Germany.

"From a political viewpoint the aim is an annual volume of 6 billion cubic metres of biomethane by 2020, which it is intended to feed into the natural gas network," says Alfred Gayer. Germany is thus, however, a long way away from this value, which was set as early as 2008 in the German Gas Network Access Regulation (GasNZV). Currently up to 80 per cent of the natural gas consumed in Germany is imported. Here, too, increased use of EnviThan technology could help: biomethane can contribute to the majority of German natural gas consumption being covered by domestic raw materials and organic wastes.

EnviTec Biogas AG

EnviTec Biogas AG covers the entire value chain for the production of biogas: including the planning and turnkey construction of biogas plants and biogas upgrading plants as well as their commissioning. The company takes charge of biological and technical services on demand and also offers full plant and operational management. In addition, EnviTec also operates its own biogas plants. In 2011 EnviTec Biogas established EnviTec Energy GmbH & Co. KG and its 100% subsidiary EnviTec Stromkontor GmbH & Co. KG, expanding its business operations into the direct marketing of upgraded biomethane as well as the marketing of green electricity and balancing energy. EnviTec Biogas AG currently has a presence in 20 countries. In 2012 EnviTec generated revenues of € 190.5 million and an EBIT of € 1.3 million. The EnviTec Group currently has 359 employees. EnviTec Biogas has been listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange since July 2007.