Anaerobic Digestion of biogenic residues in Germany

The anaerobic digestion (AD) has reached a very high level in Germany. By the end of 2011 nearly 7.000 AD plantshad an installed capacity of more than 2.700 Megawatt supplying 5 million households with electricity. Besides ofgenerating electricity the energy carrier biogas is able to supply households, industries, stables, swimming pools andother buildings with heat and even substitute natural gas and fuel when it is upgraded to biomethane. But also thematerial benefit from biomass, using the digestate as valuable nutrient-rich fertiliser plays an important role, especiallyregarding the shortage of phosphor. The production of biogas combines the energetic and the material use of biomass.The cycle of nutrients is closed, saving fossil and mineral resources and green-house-gas emissions, especially with thetreatment of organic residues and manure.The above mentioned 7.000 AD plants run mainly on the base of energy crops and manure.

But the use of biogenicresidues in AD plants is also of great importance in Germany. For 2009, the German Federal Office of Statistics lists13.2 million tonnes of separately collected biowaste in Germany with a share of 7.8 million tonnes of biowaste fromhouseholds. Approximately 4 million tons of this separately collected biowaste in addition of two million tons of animalby-products (ABP) are treated in 969 biogas plants in Germany.The European Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (Waste Framework Directive) includes ABP which are destined for theuse in AD plants into its scope. The Waste Framework Directive is to be implemented into national law. On the 1st ofJune 2012 the German Material Cycle and Waste Management Act came into force. As a disastrous change manure asan ABP falls under the scope of the waste regime though the competent authority may decide if manure is a waste ornot on a case-by-case basis. This unclear guidelines form the EU Commission is a very unsatisfying situation.Classifying manure as waste would be a serious discrimination since manure that is directly used in agriculture will notbe waste. The future use of manure in AD plants could be significantly reduced if it is classified as waste.The strong development in the area of AD and of Renewable Energy in general could only be achieved thanks to theGerman Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the most powerful instrument promoting renewable energy. On the 1stof January 2012 the new EEG 2012 came into force installing a new concept for compensating the electricityproduction from biogas. In the 'old” EEG of 2009 with different bonuses, manure was classified as renewable resource.Thus, manure was also used in agricultural plants substituting energy crops. With the commencement of the 'new” EEGon the 1st of 2012 there will be a separate compensation for AD plants treating 90 % of municipal biowaste (16 ct/kWh< 500 kW, 14 ct/kWh < 20 MW). For all other plants there will be no separation between waste and energy crops. Allkind of feedstock can be used in every new plant. However there will be an additional compensation for differentfeedstock. For energy crops there will be an additional compensation (6 ct/kWh < 500 kW/kWh, 5 ct/kWh < 750 kW, 4ct/kWh < 5 MW) and for manure and other recoverable material like the cup-plant 8 ct/kWh until 5 MW. Thisadditional compensation is only paid for the energetic part of each feedstock. There is only one additional bonusavailable left for the injection of upgraded biomethane into the natural gas grid.This shows a new way of compensation in contrast to the EEG 2009. For small scale AD plants treating energy cropsthe compensation of the EEG 2012 will be lower in comparison to the EEG 2009 and higher for large scale plantsupgrading biogas. A much higher compensation can be reached for the electricity production of AD plants treatingwaste which will lead to lower revenues for the acceptance of waste at the AD plant. This is a big problem for existingwaste treatment plants falling under the compensation scheme of the EEG 2009 that cannot change into the newcompensation scheme. The realisation of new projects will show if the new concept of compensation energy from biogas leads to a further development in the biogas sector of Germany in the next years.

Copyright: © European Compost Network ECN e.V.
Quelle: Orbit 2012 (Juni 2012)
Seiten: 4
Preis: € 4,00
Autor: Dipl.-Ing. David Wilken
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