R/€ = 15.23
R/$ = 13.52
Au 1148.42 $/oz
Pt 938.50 $/oz
Oct 12, 2001
Power, heat and cooling from manureBack
© 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 Heating and Cooling News
Building information modelling (BIM) enables quicker, more economical and more sustainable installation of heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) systems, says mechanical pipe-joining service provider Victaulic, which has helped in the BIM stage of development of...
Heating systems manufacturer Viessmann announced in March that it is introducing new high-pressure steam boilers into the market this year.
Up to 40% of the energy consumed by a building’s cooling system can be saved by designing an end-to-end solution that monitors, controls and operates all the components of the system, says Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Africa GM Neil Cameron.
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 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 infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Black-owned investment holding company Sphere Holdings plans to raise a further R1-billion in the coming months in support of its strategy to become a leading black industrial enterprise, which could ultimately seek a listing on the JSE.
Energy analyst and EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland warned recently against excessive optimism regarding timescales for the proposed construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in South Africa. He was speaking at a Nuclear Roundtable in Johannesburg. “I think we...
Malawi’s Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is inviting eligible bidders to prequalify for the board’s efficiency improvement works, which will be implemented as part of the E24-million Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency Programme. LWB CEO Alfonso Chikuni explains that...
CROATIA, AN EU MEMBER BUT NOT A TDCA MEMBER On July 1, 2013, Croatia officially became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union (EU). Despite Croatia’s accession into the EU, it is yet to become party to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA)...
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that its new Inundu airborne electronics testing, evaluation and training pod had made its first test flight on September 10. The successful flight was undertaken from Lanseria International...