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Clean energy from cow dung

German farmers have strong incentives to make biogas out of their fresh cow dung.

German farmers have strong incentives to make biogas out of their fresh cow dung. AgriKomp, a leading creator of renewable energy systems, is there to help them out, using Scania engines to power its biogas plants.

In Germany, government incentives encourage the continuous development of small-scale climate-friendly biogas power plants. Farmers are offered feed-in tariffs, guaranteed for 20 years, for the production of electricity from biogas.

AgriKomp is one of Germany’s leading developers of biogas power plants. It has constructed 550 of these renewable energy installations on farms around the country, and more than 850 worldwide.

The power plants are airtight, to enable the anaerobic breakdown of organic material such as slurry, manure and residue from food and agricultural production, which in turn produces biogas. The biogas contains approximately 60 percent methane, 39 percent carbon dioxide and traces of other gases such as hydrogen, nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide.

The gas is cleaned
Before being fit for use, the gas is cleaned to remove condensate, hydrogen sulphide and other substances that are harmful to engines. The processed biogas is then used to run a Scania 13-litre industrial engine, which in turn powers a generator, electricity from which is fed into the national grid.

Upgraded to biomethane, biogas can also be used as fuel for vehicles or injected into the national gas grid. The heat generated warms up farm buildings and greenhouses, is sold via district heating networks to neighbours, or is used for industrial applications. It’s a win-win situation.

“Biogas opens up various utilisation paths in many sectors including transport, heating and electricity,” says Gernot Buchta, Head of Marketing at AgriKomp Group.

AgriKomp has been developing biogas systems since the mid-1990s
“It is storable and can be used when it is needed – for example, if there is a peak in electricity demand,” he continues. “Biogas plants in flexible operating mode can help to close the demand gap and stabilise the grid. Our BGA-136 power unit with the Scania 13-litre engine is ideally suited to flexible energy production.”

Since the mid-1990s, AgriKomp has been developing biogas systems for agricultural businesses and has implemented more than 850 so far: a total installed capacity of about 250 MW. Some 400 employees run its network, including its headquarters in Germany, as well as branch offices and partners in the UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. The company also runs projects in Canada, Kenya, Russia and China.

For the past two years AgriKomp has been using Scania’s 13-litre engine in its tailor-made solutions.

“We scale it down to the required emissions limits and equip it with an oxidation catalyst,” says Buchta. “There is no need to adjust anything else. The 13-litre fits with our output range [150 kW to 250 kW] and our efficiency requirements. It’s easy to handle, and spare parts and maintenance services are available worldwide.”

A real success story
There are now plans to extend AgriKomp’s engine portfolio, with the inclusion of the Scania 9-litre in its product range in 2018, and the 16-litre in 2019. Scania is happy to help in this highly sustainable project.

“Our work with AgriKomp has been a real success story,” says Jörg Franzke, Head of Engines Sales and Service at Scania Germany.

“We started delivering 13-litre engines in 2016, and since then we have continuously grown together,” he says. “In this application our engines have a long life cycle of up to 40,000 hours or more, which makes them very attractive for use in power plants, so we hope to enjoy an even higher level of cooperation in the future.”

Engine type
The engines for power generation from Scania are based on a robust design with a strength-optimised cylinder block containing wet cylinder liners that can easily be exchanged. Individual cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder promote reparability and fuel economy.

The Scania 13-litre engine: 150 to 250 kW continuous
electric power at 1,500 r/min.

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