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Brittany farmer beefs up capacity with apple pulp and manure

Together with its French partner Weltec Agripower, Germany-based biogas technology provider, Weltec Biopower GmbH is currently working on the extension of an existing biogas plant it supplied in Iffendic, Brittany. Built in 2014, the biogas plant in Iffendic is now doubling its electrical output capacity – to 500 kW a day – with the addition of a second digester and CHP unit.

Originally built with capacity expansion in mind, the substrate receiving bin is dimensioned to feed both digesters (photo courtesy Weltec).

Beef and pork farmer Samuel Morand already had the idea of capacity extension when the original biogas plant in 2014 was built by Weltec. However, as he only had a limited amount of cattle manure, pig manure, whole crop silage, cereal residues and apple pulp at his disposal, he initially decided to implement just one 2 625-m3 stainless-steel digester and a 250-kW gas combined heat and power (CHP) unit.

Nonetheless, the original biogas plant was proactively designed by Weltec with expansion in mind. Other plant components, such as the dosing feeder and the pumps, were dimensioned for double the plant size. The “MULTIMix” substrate input system, which ensures efficient shredding of long-fibre and sticky substrates such as cattle manure and whole crop silage, was also implemented in such a way that it can now easily supply the second digester.

French FIT security

Since 2014, Morand has successfully enlarged his agricultural business and now has a greater amount of cattle and pig manure at his disposal. Moreover, the apple juice manufacturer is now able to supply more fruit pulp from production.

In December 2016, the feed-in tariff (FIT) for power from agricultural biogas plants was increased, especially for the input of liquid manure. Moreover, the maximum compensation period has been increased five years to a total of 20 years. Both the term and the amount of the tariff ensure more planning and investment security in the industry.

This increase in the available substrate together with a higher FIT for a longer term forms the basis for the plant extension by an additional 2 625-m3 digester and an additional 250-kW CHP unit with the exhaust heat to be used to heat the pigsties and dry digestate.

Apart from the needs-oriented planning and the high quality of the biogas plant, the smooth rollout of the initial construction project was a key reason why Samuel Morand decided to entrust Weltec with this follow-up project which took only a few months to complete.

After the quick approval process, the groundworks were finished within a short time, and Weltec commenced with its work, which also progressed speedily, said Morand.

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