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DONG Energy and Bigadan announce biomethane-to-grid plant

DONG Energy and Bigadan have announced plans to build a large-scale biomethane to grid plant that will reuse residues from the production facilities of Novozymes and Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg, Denmark.

Artist’s rendering of the planned biomethane-to-grid plant (illustration courtesy DONG Energy).

In Kalundborg, Denmark a consortium of Danish industries consisting of healthcare and pharmaceutical major Novo Nordisk A/S, enzyme and microorganism biotechnology major Novozymes A/S, biogas plant technology provider and operator Bigadan A/S and energy major DONG Energy A/S have signed an agreement to build a biomethane-to-grid plant.

This is a great example of how residues can be utilised even better. Biogas in our natural gas grid is a good supplement to the green power from wind and solar power and the green district heating from our power stations. This project is, therefore, an important step in the direction of a green, independent and economically sustainable energy system, said Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President of DONG Energy.

Bigadan and DONG Energy will build and own the new biomethane to grid plant which will be located close to DONG Energy’s Asnæs Power Station in Kalundborg. Construction will commence this month, and the plant is scheduled for commissioning already in the spring of 2018. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 8 million Nm3 of biomethane.

I’m very pleased that we’ve now decided to realise this project, and I’m looking forward to the cooperation, said Karsten Buchhave, CEO of Bigadan A/S.

First biogas, then fertiliser

The plant will process around 300 000 tonnes per annum of biomass residues from Novozymes manufacturing facilities in Fuglebakken and Kalundborg as well as from Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg. Both the production of insulin at Novo Nordisk and of enzymes at Novozymes are based on biomass fermentation processes and can be compared with beer brewing. This opens up the possibility of reusing the residual biomass.

This agreement is a double-up in terms of reusing Novozymes’ residues, and both the environment and Novozymes are gaining from it. It’s important to Novozymes to reduce the environmental impact of our production. For several years, we’ve invested heavily in reducing energy consumption by reusing our resources. We’ve succeeded in this and now we’re taking the next step, said Jesper Haugaard, Head of Novozymes’ production in Europe.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy here seen at the AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future conference November 2016.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President at DONG Energy here seen at the AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future conference November 2016.

With the new biogas plant, the residues will first be converted into biogas which will then be upgraded to biomethane and injected into the Danish natural gas grid. The digestate from the biogas plant will be used as fertiliser in the fields, just like it has been for several years already.

Novo Nordisk is very pleased with the partnership and is looking forward to the cooperation. During 2018, we’ll be able to better utilise our biomass for biogas production while also significantly shortening the transport distance between our factories and the recipient of our biomass. All in all, it’s a great optimisation for our production, said Michael Hallgren, Head of Production, Novo Nordisk Kalundborg.

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