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Biogas plant in Eastern Germany will be the world's largest

image: WELtec BioPower

The renewable energy industry is changing so rapidly that calling something the “world’s largest” is setting yourself up to be corrected only a few weeks later. In any case, as of today, a new biogas plant in Konnern, Germany can now claim that it is the largest biogas plant to feed gas directly into a national grid...when it begins operations at the beginning of 2009. Ah, qualifying statements. We’ll see if it gets one-upped before then, but here are the details, via Renewable Energy World:
Biomethane Fed Into Natural Gas Supply
This new plant, when operational, will feed 15 million cubic meters of biomethane into Germany’s national gas grid. Normally, biogas contains about 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide, but through filtering technology at the Konnern facility the CO2 will be filtered out so that the methane content of the biogas is similar to that of natural gas. Thus the biomethane can be put into the same pipelines that carry natural gas.
Corn to be Used as Feedstock
One environmental/social catch in this system is the source of the raw materials used to make the biogas. Apparently neither agricultural waste products not animal waste will be used in the system, rather thirty local farmers will be supplying 120,000 tonnes per year of raw materials, mostly corn, to the facility. This is sure to justly raise the question of the importance of using agricultural lands to feed people before our collective energy addiction.
Though it most likely won’t calm food versus fuel critics, Andrea Horbelt of the German Biogas Association says, “Research is just beginning to look at the many types of plants that could be used to produce biogas. We are confident there will be many alternatives to using crops such as corn.”
Smellier Solutions Could Calm the Food v. Fuel Debate
Given that human excrement has been been used in Uganda to make biogas, and cow dung is being used for the same purpose in California , I just can’t get the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome images out of mind. Tina Turner with a crossbow and Master-Blaster are just burnt into my brain.

source: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/worlds-largest-biogas-plant-germany.php


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