Thirty years ago the Wenning family took their first pioneering steps towards building a successful agricultural business and distillery in Rhede, Germany. Now, with the help of Atlas Copco, they now have evolved into an award winning energy producer, using less power than other, comparable plants.

By 2020, 20% of all energy and 10% of all transport fuel should come from renewable sources. To reach these European targets, countries are rethinking their energy mix. Germany is extensively promoting biogas as an alternative source of energy. In comparison with other sources of energy, like electricity for example, the biggest advantage is storability. The company can store up to two months’ worth of energy, says Bernd-Josef Wenning. As biogas is stored in the existing gas network, it doesn’t have to be consumed immediately and no additional investment in the gas grid is required.

In Germany, over 6000 anaerobic digesters convert biomass into raw biogas. This number will more than double over the next ten years. Wenning explains: “The energy cycle is simple: the distillery contributes with residues that feed the bulls. The bulls give manure in return, a raw material for the biogas plant. The plant delivers gas, which is used to generate electricity and steam. This is a closed loop that really makes sense.”

There are said to be two possibilities to use your biogas: cogeneration and as substitute to natural gas (upgraded biogas). As cogeneration is only effective as a local source of electricity and heat, and is less efficient when the heat is only used at certain times of the year, upgrading the biogas to biomethane offers better opportunities. By 2020, biomethane is expected to provide 10% of Germany’s overall gas demand.

For further information visit www.atlascopco/biogas