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DLG reveals 2018 EnergyDecentral innovation award winners

In Germany, the EnergyDecentral innovations jury, which has been appointed by the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft – German Agricultural Society (DLG), has selected six innovations from 22 submitted products. These solutions represent innovations from energy sector hosted at EnergyDecentral, the international trade fair for innovative energy supply, co-hosted at EuroTier November 13 - 16, 2018 in Hannover.

The 2018 EnergyDecentral innovation award winners have been announced. The medals will be handed over at a ceremony during the upcoming EnergyDecentral and EuroTier trade show in Hannover, Germany on November 13 (image courtesy EnergyDecentral).

In total six innovation awards, two gold and four silver were selected by the 2018 EnergyDecentral innovations jury appointed by the DLG. Notable is that all winners are directly or indirectly related to biogas and hail from Germany or Austria. The awards will be handed over at a formal ceremony during the upcoming EnergyDecentral and EuroTier trade shows in November.

Gold Medal winners

revis bioenergy GmbH, Germany for its “Poultry Profit”

If substrates with high nitrogen loads, such as poultry manure, are used in biogas plants, this can lead to efficiency losses, as ammonia inhibits the fermentation processes and can even bring them to a halt. In order not to stress the entire biology in the fermentation tank by overloading it with nitrogen, either the share of poultry manure used in the substrate mix must be limited or fermentation excipients must be added.

However, with a high percentage of nitrogen in the biomass used, the digestate also contains a large quantities of nitrogen. Agricultural land can only be fertilised inexpensively in the region close to the biogas plant. The maximum quantity to be spread is quickly reached due to the high nutrient contents. However, an alternative digestate transport or digestate processing is very expensive.

With Poultry Profit from revis bioenergy of Münster, it is possible for the first time to already remove a large share of the nitrogen content in the biogas plant before its use in the biomass and to generate an ammonium sulphate solution, i.e. a known, permissible fertiliser, from it. In addition to the specific fertilisation effect, it is also very worthy of transport.

As a result, it is now possible for the first time to also metabolise ammonium-rich substances and use them energetically on a large scale following corresponding processing, and no longer just as admixtures in biogas plants. In addition, valuable fertilisation components are also obtained.

Poultry profit, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 gold medal innovation award winner (photo courtesy revis bioenergy).

TFZ – Technologie und Förderzentrum im Kompetenzzentrum für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe Straubing, Germany for its Spray-On Silo Cover

For an optimum ensiling process and low respiration losses during silo removal, the biomass must be stored well-compressed and air-sealed. Especially for air sealing, a structure of air-tight wrapping foil, silo tarpaulin, protective nets and fixation with weights must be produced within a narrow time frame after filling the silo at a high technical and personnel expense.

As particularly for biogas plants, the silo heaps have especially large dimensions, in addition to the workload, occupational safety is also a relevant topic when covering the silo. The Technologie und Förderzentrum im Kompetenzzentrum für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe Straubing (TFZ – Technology and Support Center in the Expertise Center for Renewable Raw Materials in Straubing) has developed an innovative silo cover that can considerably reduce the workload and provide a major improvement in occupational safety.

The process is based on a self-hardening material made of renewable resources that is mixed locally from two components and sprayed onto the silo. It then cures to form an air-tight protective layer that achieves values similar to a silo foil with regard to gas permeability and tensile strength.

When choosing the components of the spray-on silo cover, attention was paid to the nutritional safety, enabling it to be introduced into the biogas plant as a substrate with the silage. The spray-on silo cover based on renewable resources from TFZ Straubing represents a completely new process that can solve major problems when sealing off a bunker silo air-tight.

Spray on silo, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 gold medal innovation award winner (photo courtesy TFZ).

Silver Medal winners

Novatech GmbH, Germany for its manure/fermentation residue removal system

If an incident occurs that causes substrate to escape when operating a barrel pull-off unit, i.e. an outlet, for example in the fermentation tank of a biogas plant or of a manure storage tank, then this can lead to water-polluting substances being released – up to the entire tank being drained.

Although the substrate loss would just barely be financially tolerable, there is a risk of pollution to surface water if the organic material reaches it. This temporary “imbalance” will – apart from the unpleasant odour – be perceived as very negative in the public eye. Furthermore, the introduction of fermentation substrates in surface water can also result in substantial fines being incurred.

Novatech from Wolpertshausen has now developed its manure and fermentation residue removal system further such that accidental opening is virtually impossible. This is implemented technically by using the principle of multiple blocking familiar from other sectors for this application for the first time. To intentionally open the barrel pull-off unit, the user must therefore carry out several different actuating steps consecutively.

The system is securely screwed on to the tank wall by means of a positive connection. To remove manure or fermentation residues, a safety slider on the tank and an operating slider must be opened. If the driver forgets to disconnect the hose, and the hose connection is then torn off, a statically tested tear-off guard with a reverse tensioning protection device for the locking slider helps prevent larger substrate quantities from escaping.

Novatech double valve discharge outlet, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 silver medal innovation award winner (photo courtesy Novatech).

ECI-Distribution GmbH, Austria for its EVE3 – 4-Valve Cylinder Head

Each new and further development which can also sustainably increase the efficiency in practice strengthens the competitiveness of those generating electricity from biogas and further increases the environmental footprint of this technology.

The EVE3 Efficiency Upgrade Package, ECI-Distribution GmbH from Schwaz, Austria now offers a four-valve cylinder head for gas engines. With its optimised inlet and exhaust duct geometry and a centrally positioned pre-chamber spark plug, it is possible on the one hand to achieve improvements for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

Another advantage is an increased efficiency and/or a reduction in gas consumption. The cylinder head can also be retrofitted on existing gas engines as part of maintenance or servicing.

The increased efficiency of a combined heat and power (CHP) system by retrofitting four-valve cylinder heads from ECI-Distribution GmbH represents a practical further development and has a direct, positive effect on both the efficiency and the emissions of as biogas plant.

ECI EVE3 – 4 valve cylinder head, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 silver medal innovation award winner (image courtesy ECI).

Pumpenfabrik Wangen GmbH, Austria for its Wangen X-UNIT

Foreign bodies and impurities in the source material of pumping media such as fermentation substrate have always been a problem, as they put a particular load on and can even damage the technology for shredding the material often located downstream.

The Wangen X-UNIT, a modular system comprising a foreign body separator (X-TRACT) and a shredder (X-CUT), offers several innovative new features at once for tackling the impurities, and therefore for increasing both the operation and the work quality. An easily accessible foreign body removal unit and the axially adjustable shredding unit enable uncomplicated, fast revision and maintenance of the system. In addition, the rake can be easily changed, which also allows it to be adjusted to the material used.

With the safe removal of foreign bodies and impurities that can damage the system and the optimum adjustment of the shredding unit to the medium, the Wangen X-UNIT provides for increased process reliability and lower maintenance costs in the downstream biogas plant technology.

Wangen X-UNIT, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 silver medal innovation award winner (image courtesy Wangen).

Börger GmbH, Germany for its “Bioselect” an axially adjustable screw

There are many good reasons for the separation of manure and fermentation residues. Consequently, the use of manure separation systems is on the rise, whereby many are already used by several farms jointly to achieve maximum utilisation.

However, especially in the multi-farm segment there are a large number of different source substances. As a result, the requirements for a separator for solid-liquid separation of pig manure differ quite clearly from those for the separation of fermentation residues from maize silage.

With the Börger Bioselect, the degree of thickening is continuously adjusted with a pre-pressure spring. The further adjustment to the substrate used is carried out automatically. The solid material plug compressed in the axially adjustable screw presses against the multi disc, a rotating, secure thick-matter sealing disc. A scraping edge attached to it causes the loosened thick phase to fall out downward.

This represents a practical further development of manure separators in the direction of individual adjustment to the substrates used, which considerably improves and simplifies its operation. A higher performance with decreasing energy costs are to be expected without further adjustment of the device.

Börger Bioselect, a DLG EnergyDecentral 2018 silver medal innovation award winner (image courtesy Börger).

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