R/€ = 13.70
R/$ = 11.02
Au 1198.09 $/oz
Pt 1212.50 $/oz
Oct 12, 2001
Power, heat and cooling from manureBack
Industrial|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Safety|System|Waste|Germany|Electricity|Electricity Generation|Energy|Industrial Food-processing Plant|Lternative Energy Sources|Manufacturing|Product|Renewable Energy|Service|Environmental|Power|Stephan Kabasci|Waste
© Reuse this A lternative energy sources currently enjoy good market prospects in Germany: from 1998 to 2000 alone, the number of biogas plants doubled to 1 200. A further boost to this sector is provided by the German government's commitment to reimburse private operators up to E0,1 per kilowatt-hour, as part of its policy on renewable energy. Yet many biogas facilities still do not operate optimally, because cogenerating power stations waste too much energy as heat in the process of electricity generation. "Our experience has been that recovery of this waste heat in most biogas plants is, at best, inadequate," says Stephan Kabasci of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology, Umsicht, in Germany. Working on a project sponsored by the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Union, Umsicht researchers tackled this problem by developing an innovative concept, which entails harnessing the waste heat generated by a cogenerating power station for room heating and for the operation of a chiller unit. The system, designed for a farmstead, went into service in June 2001. In addition to using biomass produced at the farm, such as manure, plant clippings, and corn silage, the system also 'digests' vegetable waste from an industrial food-processing plant. The resulting biogas is in turn used as fuel in a cogenerating power station that produces enough electricity to meet the needs of 500 homes. This form of energy is fed into the public power grid by the system's operators. Generating electricity also produces heat. "We use this by-product to heat the stable, the farmhouse with offices and a manufacturing facility," reports Kabasci. The heat is further utilised to operate a thermally-driven chiller unit, which works on the same principle as a gas-operated refrigerator in a recreation van, by using waste heat as the energy supply for the cooling cycle. This allows the stables as well as living rooms and offices to be cooled in summer. "Thanks to this ingenious concept, about three-fourths of the available heat energy is utilised," explains the engineer from Umsicht. Even the effluent from the anaerobic digestion process is a valuable liquid fertiliser for farming. This method of integrated energy supply thus offers economical and ecological advantages: it saves on heating costs, uses waste heat to provide cheap refrigeration, supplies electricity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, reduces the leaching of nitrates into groundwater, and closes the cycle of organic waste to fertilisers.
Smrcka is an information resources consultant and translator
Edited by: Karel Smrcka© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Article contains comments
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.