German city constructs biogas network

By Anna Austin
Posted June 10, 2009, at 10:14 a.m. CST

The city of L�nen, Germany, will soon be home to an underground biogas network, which will generate heat and electricity for nearly one-third of the city's 90,000 residents.

Work on the project began in the spring of this year, according to Peter Kindt, chairman of local heat and power provider Alfagy Ltd. The total project will cost �15 million ($21 million), he said.

The biogas will be distributed to the city through an underground biogas pipeline network. "Four digesters (located at local farms) will annually ferment up to 100,000 metric tons of energy crops such as corn, grass stalks and manure to supply a gas vat that will feed the biogas network.

The network will be approximately 7 kilometers (5 miles) long, he said. The gas network will power 12 Schmitt Enertec cogeneration units, which will feed the electricity into the grid and the heat into local district heating networks. Schmitt Enertec GmBh is a combined-heat-and-power system provider in Mendig, Germany.

Frank Schmitt, managing director of Schmitt Enertec, said the project was a nice challenge for the company. "We believe this is a model for the future of local power generation," he said.

When operational, the power plant will produce 6.9 megawatts, or enough power to supply 26,000 houses with electricity.

The project is expected to begin production in December, according to Kindt.