Weltec Biopower builds biogas plant in France

By Luke Geiver | April 26, 2012

Weltec Biopower GmbH has started construction of a biogas plant in France, scheduled for commissioning in October. The plant, nearly 60 miles northwest of Nantes, will include a 3,052-cubic-meter fermenter, along with a separator, solid matter dosing feeder, two storage tanks, a digestate storage unit and a pump station. 

Upon completion, the 526 kilowatt plant will use pig manure along with food industry waste, regenerative raw material and agricultural residue. A farming operation provided the site for the plant and will also provide the ag residue feedstock for the fermenter. Exhaust heat produced by the biogas plant will dry the digestate and provide a source of heat for the pig operation at the site. According to Weltec, a feed-in tariff in France ensures that the country will purchase power from all biogas plants at a set price for 15 years. 

Weltec is also working on a biogas facility in Germany—the largest in the country—that will use raw materials and pig manure from roughly 30 farms. On average, farmers associated with the facility will not have to travel farther than nine miles to deliver their substrate product. The biogas plant will feature four fermenters, six digestate storage units and one liquid reservoir, all of which will be piped into a natural gas grid. The facility is set for commissioning in December. 

According to Weltec, several biogas plants ranging in output from 150 to 250 kW and 600 kW and 1 MW, are under construction in France, most of which consume less than 30 tons per day of agricultural substrate. So a biogas plant permit can be obtained in four to six months, according to Weltec. But because of the German Federal Emission Control, a permit in Germany can take nearly 18 months to acquire. According to the company, based on the biomass potential available in European countries, the Netherlands are using 68 percent of its biomass for bioenergy, Germany is at 25 percent, Poland 19 percent, and France is using 5 percent.

Weltec uses what it believes are tried and tested system components for all of its biogas plants, including metering technology for demand-orientated supply of the substrate, mixing equipment that allows the fermenter to create a constant gas yield with a low internal energy consumption, a gas processing system, sanitation systems and multiple solutions for conditioning the digestates.