To Content

Agricultural business Odega has started the test run of its newly built biogas plant in Neuhardenberg. With 30 million kilowatt-hours per year, the 7.5 million euro plant can supply about 15,000 households with energy.

From the first decision to build the plant to its final test run almost five years elapsed. In time for Odega’s 20th anniversary, the company’s management had announced that they were going to follow up the construction of the 500 kW plant in Güldenhof with a 1.7 megawatt plant in Neuhardenberg. Five years later, just in time for their 25th anniversary, the plant will finally be connected to the grid. At first everything went quickly, and the building permit was granted in 2012. But then the laws changed. The generation of electricity became unprofitable and with it the plans to use the heat from heat and power cogeneration plants to supply duck farms and parts of the town. In addition, the amount of fresh water was calculated differently and limited to 100 tons.

Therefore, the plant had to be redesigned to be solely used to generate biogas from poultry manure and corn. One year ago, the technical solution was finally presented. Division manager Mario Forner and managing director Detlef Brauer are grateful to the authorities who granted the permission for the modified plant in only five months. Construction started on the 6th of July and the gas plant was basically finished in the middle of December. After that, the test phase could begin.

During the final construction phase, clamp silos for the poultry manure and the corn silage were built. The designated areas are situated at the eastern edge of the plant, bordered by a small wood.

Energy utility EWE has built a station south of the plant. The biogas will be fed into the local distribution network for now. In September, a transfer station to the 3.5 km distant high pressure network will be built.
Mario Forner explains the technical function as follows: Two fermenters (8 m high, 530 m wide) are fed daily with 49 tons of poultry manure from the duck farms in Neuhardenberg and 49 tons of corn grown on the fields nearby. The two containers for the fermentation residue also serve as gas storage, and are also 8 meters high but 35 meters wide. The biological processes inside the plants are precisely tailored to the feed material. It is therefore not possible to use other material such as beets or grains. The fermentation residues are partly separated from their solid components and used as fertilizer on the 17,000 hectares of land which are cultivated by Odega and its affiliated companies.

The plant will be operated by three Odega employees. As technological highlights its features “Evonik membranes” used for the gas purification. These membranes work like filters which only let gases with a certain molecular size pass while the others are blocked. Using this technique, the raw 48 percent biogas is upgraded to 96 percent biogas which can then be fed into the EWE network. The system is currently still undergoing testing. Forner emphasizes that the fire protection concept has been coordinated with the local fire department, and the fire fighters were presented with 13,000 Euros worth of special equipment.

Detlef Brauer hopes that the political conditions will remain stable and so allow him to use his 7.5 million euro investment in the long run. According to him, biogas plants are important because they can supply households with energy even when there’s no sun or wind.

Märkische Onlinezeitung, 25.01.2016