Germany-headed biogas plant operators and technology suppliers EnviTec Biogas AG has revealed that it has completed its first biogas plant with gas upgrading to biomethane in Hebei Province in northern China. It is the third completed biogas project in the country for the company and a fourth project is now underway.
According to EnviTec, its market presence in China is progressing by “leaps and bounds” with particular success for its EnviThan gas upgrading technology in the Far East.
For our customer Dingzhou Sifang Leo Livestock Science and Technology Co. Ltd., the newly commissioned plant in Dingzhou, Hebei province is a lighthouse project for the entire region, said Jörg Fischer, CFO of EnviTec Biogas.
Operated using cattle slurry, corn stover and corn silage, the 13.5 million Nm³ of raw biogas per annum plant was constructed and commissioned by EnviTec in just six months.
Construction was naturally preceded by a detailed planning phase. All of the biogas plant and EnviThan gas upgrading components were manufactured at our Saerbeck site and packed into containers for shipping by sea,” explained Andreas Bosse, project manager responsible for the completion of the plant.
The six digesters needed by the plant were poured by local concrete works. The team at Dingzhou Sifang Leo Livestock Science and Technology Co. Ltd. translated all of the EnviTec planning documents into Chinese within its own design unit.
Our customer’s detailed planning work meant that implementation was easy to manage – including the intercultural aspects. Importantly, this biogas plant was intended from the start as a flagship project, Bosse said.
The adjoining Visitor Centre, including lab and central control room, has been designed and built to ensure that visitors can view the mixing line and technical systems via a glass-walled corridor and tunnel. The biomethane produced is used as compressed natural gas (CNG) into a CNG trailer for subsequent distribution as a fuel.
Bio-CNG growth market
In the port city of Yantai in eastern China, another EnviThan plant completed by EnviTec earlier this year is already successfully supplying a local filling station. The CNG plant installed onsite compresses the biomethane from around 13.5 bar to 200 bar in a CNG tube trailer.
In Yantai, CNG is mostly used by cars. Our customer there, Shandong Minhe Biological Sci-tech Co. Ltd, supplies the raw gas from the existing biogas plant, explained Stefan Laumann, Head of Gas Upgrading at EnviTec’s plant construction division.
According to Jörg Fischer, EnviTec Group CFO, CNG in China is very much a growth market. The country is increasingly turning to renewables as its megacities “start to choke on the smoke” from coal-fired power stations.
Together with our sales partner, we now have four employees in China at the moment, busy handling a large number of enquiries. The situation’s similar in rural areas, as local farmers simply burn what’s left after the harvest, Fischer said.
EnviTec is now looking to establish a Chinese joint venture company, whose future activities will largely involve handling local after-sales service.
Drive Biogas: Award-winning business model
EnviTec’s ‘Drive Biogas’ business model was recently the recipient of a prestigious award from the German Energy Agency (dena). The company won the accolade as a result of its innovative and integrative entrepreneurial approach to using biogas as a fuel in the transport sector.
Our business model shows how important it is for plant engineering firms to advance into consumer markets and act in the interests of customers and environmental protection, said Fischer.
The new business model is intended to promote the use of biogas as a fuel in the transport sector as bio-CNG. This gives EnviTec as a plant engineering firm as well as operators of biogas and gas upgrading plants the option of further refining the biomethane they produce and utilising this as a fuel.
To promote this integrated approach, EnviTec signed a cooperative agreement earlier this year with Baur Kompressoren, an established supplier of components for CNG plants. EnviTec Anlagenbau integrates these components into the project-specific design tailored to the respective requirements.