Advanced biofuels from Germany`s first integrated Bio-LNG plant
EnviTec Biogas acquires BioEnergie Park Gustrow
Lohne/Saerbeck -- A green energy transition in Germany? Hardly – at least in the transport sector. With the purchase of BioEnergie Park Güstrow, EnviTec Biogas AG is setting the agenda for a sustainable transport sector. “From autumn 2022, the largest biogas plant constructed in Germany to date will be supplying significant quantities of purified Bio-LNG for greener heavy goods traffic,” says Olaf von Lehmden, CEO of EnviTec Biogas AG. This marks a milestone for the transport sector: despite setting emission mitigation goals, Germany has missed its interim target by exactly 100 (!) percent. “This is another reason why our company welcomes the recent ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court: citizens have a basic right to a better climate and German policymakers must now do better.” The adoption of a policy to further develop GHG quotas, as announced yesterday, is a positive start, von Lehmden continues.
With greenhouse gas savings in the German fuel mix, as required by the Renewable Energy Directive RED II, this is the first time that green fuel production will be realized ambitiously. As a result, those placing fuels on the market must now cut their GHG emissions by 25 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. Von Lehmden: “For this reason, we have decided to expand further into this sustainable business segment by adding the 20-hectare BioEnergie Park in Güstrow to the plants run in our Own Operations division.” At the heart of the new business venture lies the production of advanced biofuels in the form of Bio-LNG (liquefied natural gas).
The purchase of this facility, built by EnviTec and which started operations in 2009 as Germany’s largest biogas plant, will enable the annual production of around 9,000 t of Bio-LNG from autumn 2022. Previously, this approximately 500 GWh biogas upgrading plant fed into the 25-bar natural gas grid. The previous owners also ran the plant on around 400,000 t of substrate, which was predominantly maize, but also included whole-plant silage, cereals and grass silage. In the new business operating model, input will now be reduced to 150,000 t per annum, agricultural residues will be utilised predominantly and additional CHP units will be ‘docked on’ to supply 1.5 MWel of on-site power to the facility. Digestate storage capacity will also be adjusted to match.
Conversion work on the Güstrow site requires investment in a CO2 liquefaction plant, an LNG system for biomethane liquefaction as well as extensive capital spending on replacements such as new roofs and agitators totalling EUR 35–40 million.
Initial contracts have already been signed with customers wishing to offer climate-neutral LNG as an alternative fuel in filling stations from autumn 2022. “Our entry into the fuel market aims to provide a counterweight to EVs, which have something of a stranglehold on sustainable transport,” states von Lehmden. To tackle the Herculean task of climate change mitigation, he emphasises the importance of a multi-pronged strategy that considers all options and does not limit itself unnecessarily at the outset. He also points to the continued growth of the LNG filling station network since 2018, with 38 such stations currently available for the roughly 1,500 HGVs now running on LNG. “This network is set to expand to 200 filling stations by the end of 2025,” notes the CEO, citing recommendations for action from the LNG Taskforce at the German Energy Agency (dena). “The addition of a proportion of Bio-LNG or a complete switch to this green fuel can therefore make a considerable contribution to the decarbonisation of the rising volume of heavy goods traffic within Europe,” von Lehmden concludes.
About EnviTec Biogas AG
EnviTec Biogas AG covers the entire value chain for the production of biogas, including the planning and turnkey construction of biogas plants and biogas upgrading plants as well as their commissioning. The company takes charge of biological and technical services on demand and also offers the operational management. EnviTec operates 75 of its own plants, making it the largest biogas producer in Germany. EnviTec’s business interests also include the direct marketing of upgraded biomethane as well as the marketing of electricity and balancing energy. With a presence in 16 countries worldwide, EnviTec Biogas AG is represented by its own companies, sales offices, strategic partners and joint ventures. In 2020, the EnviTec Group generated revenue of EUR 192.3 million and EBIT of EUR 17.2 million. The Group currently employs 477 people. EnviTec Biogas AG has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since July 2007.
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