Tuesday, 18 May 2021
German biogas specialists Weltec Biopower are building a biomethane processing plant on a farm 150 kilometres West of Barcelona owned by Torre Santamaria.
Biogas is not new to Torre Santamaria - in 2011 they installed a 250 kW biogas plant which has allowed the family owned operation to be energy self-sufficient.
The new biomethane plant comes with an investment price tag of 4 million Euros, which will include the upgrade of existing biogas infrastructure. Funding was secured via a gas purchase agreement, providing long term security for backers of the project.
“We view this AD (Anaerobic Digestion) plant as an environmental investment, as it allows us to cut our own greenhouse emissions almost to zero and generate additional income from biomethane,” explains Juan Bautista Pons Torrades, Managing Director and owner of Torre Santamaría.
The farm uses approximately 60 000 tonnes of feed to produce biogas, 90% of which is cattle manure, with the rest comprising straw and silage leftovers. Weltec is installing two additional stainless-steel digesters - all these upgrades should lead to a processing capacity of 300 cubic metres per hour of biomethane, which can be injected into the gas grid.
The existing 250 kW biogas plant will still provide for Torre Santamaria energy needs however.
Recently we have promoted a number of biogas stories related to dairy, including the activities of Danish company Arla, US cheesemaker Hilmar, and a Finnish Weltec venture. What makes this pairing ideal?
Dairy farms and industry produce significant amounts of waste which can be problematic to handle. This includes manure from cattle as well as wastewater containing dairy residue.
Processing these streams reduces net waste and produces a valuable energy commodity which can be used for the industry's own needs or on sold provided the appropriate connections exists.
Finally, compost by-products result after processing these biological waste streams - on dairy farms, this can be used to improve soil conditions which has benefits for the growing of grazing crops which the livestock feed upon.
When these operations produce biomethane in excess of requirements for their own needs, they are able to inject the surplus into gas grids provided the infrastructure and legislation are in place. The biomethane is mixed with regular methane and can be traded as such.
Biomethane certificates (GOs in particular) are a logical method for tracking the green attributes of biomethane mixed with natural gas and can add value for green gas producers.