Win-win situation for communities thanks to micro biogas plants

Free after Song by Rio Reiser they may have asked themselves the question, which projects would they tackle if they were "King of Germany"? This Me-Myself-and-I perspective does not go well for long, of course, and you have to come to terms with the interests of your fellow human beings. In order to operate a micro biogas plant, you often even need the support of your fellow citizens. With good framework conditions and careful planning, a small-scale biogas plant can create a win-win situation for everyone involved. The fourth article within the current one Article series to strengthen bioenergy investigates how communities at different levels can benefit from the construction of micro biogas plants.

Über Mini biogas plants according to EEG 2012 has been written in two blog articles this month. Since I consider microbiogas plants to be one of the most important ways to bring the supply and demand of gaseous bioenergy closer together and to increase the use of bioenergy in the future, microbiogas plants should not be missing in this small bioenergy campaign.   

Micro biogas plants as a symbol of decentralized bioenergy

The desire for decentralization of energy supply is closely linked to the expansion of renewable energies and the process of the energy transition.

Small energy plants that are spread all over Germany and many plant operators help to distribute both the income and the risks of the energy supply over many shoulders. A regionalization of the energy industry with closed cycles of energy production and consumption.

A nice idea, which, however, is not as easy to implement as in the dream of a green energy revolution due to energy efficiency (lower efficiency of small systems), the infrastructure of the power grids and the financing costs, which should not be underestimated.
But a lot has already been achieved and the less descriptive topic of energy supply has become much more widely known thanks to the driving force behind renewable energies.

The performance and number of plants within the biogas landscape has doubled in the past 4 years and the industry has experienced rapid growth during this period with 1.000 new plants per year. Currently, 3.1 percent of Germany's electricity needs are covered by biogas.
My personal opinion is that the use of renewable, flexible and storable energy sources should be increased to 7 percent in the medium term and even to 10 percent in the long term. The processing to biomethane makes biogas extremely interesting, in addition to the electricity and heating market, even for the fuel market.

With the promotion of Smallest biogas plants in the EEG 2012 a historic milestone was laid for the further expansion of an even more decentralized bioenergy.

Micro biogas plants need a strong community

According to everything I have heard and read so far, concepts for micro biogas plants must be designed particularly efficiently due to the lower material flows and lower efficiency of the electricity generation technologies. Above all, this means that transport routes must be short and the sale of the energy products obtained must be complete.

In a nutshell, a micro biogas plant is a plant that often lives from interaction with the community. It is of course possible to feed the electricity produced into the national electricity grid, but the additional sales of heat and digestate to partners in the immediate vicinity is crucial for economic success.

A great challenge, but at the same time a great opportunity for every community that has the manure quantities required to operate a small biogas plant.

This proximity to the community can be a curse or a blessing for the potential operator of a small biogas plant. In relation to the total number of biogas plants, there are only a few municipalities in which the plants have led to serious conflicts (keywords: maize, unpleasant smell, land use competition, nitrate pollution) between the residents and the operator of the biogas plant. I do not wish this kind of poisoned mood between members of the community, which unfortunately can sometimes be found in Lower Saxony.

With careful planning and good coordination with the community members, a microbiogas plant brings advantages for a region. Here is a brief overview of the advantages:

  • Greater use of the agricultural residues available
  • Relocation of the energy supply chain to the community
  • Inexpensive heat for the community
  • High-quality fertilizers (digestate) - applies to the mini biogas plants subsidized according to EEG 2012, especially when using a maximum possible proportion of renewable resources close to the 20 percent mark

Construction, operation and economy of micro biogas plants

As described in the previous section, the profitability of a small biogas plant depends on its proximity and good relationship with the residents.

If you have good relationships within your community and believe that you are open to your plans for the construction and operation of a microbiogas plant, then it is worth taking a look at the economic viability of your location in a first step. For dairy farmers and farmers who have at least 200 livestock livestock, a closer look at the profitability of a microbiogas plant according to EEG 2012 can be useful.

In an older article you will find some information on input materials, plant costs and other parameters that the Economy of a micro biogas plant influence.

Advice on micro biogas plants for your community

If you are considering the construction and operation of a micro biogas plant and Planning support I would be happy to advise you on which system suits your general conditions. I am in regular contact with many providers, Operators and biogas associations about the latest developments in mini-biogas plants and know the potentials and risks of the various concepts (substrates, economy, heat sales).

Good luck and have fun with the decentralized mini power plants.

3 comments on “Win-win situation for communities thanks to micro biogas plants”

  1. Dear Mr. Kirchner,
    I think your blog and the list of manufacturers is a good idea. There is hardly an overview for those interested. As a representative of Bio4Gas, however, it would be great if you could add that we are the only manufacturer who offers a 100% liquid manure refinement system. This does not require any additives - only liquid manure. The investment therefore starts at 166.000 euros. Because we do not need any agitators or additional substrates, working hours, machines etc. It would be great if you could explain this to your readers in more detail in the preview article. After all, it's a USP!

  2. I really enjoy reading this blog, mainly because it is not tinged with industry messages like other “trade” media.

    I find it amazing how you can dare to ask for a free PR article “just like that”. You can call it what you want, but it borders on the fraudulent use of services or ... scrounging.

    If such biogas plants are such a success, it shouldn't be a problem to put paid advertising for them, right? How serious is it to want people to work for free ..?

    However, should there be any advertising without labeling, with or without payment, a good, informative source has been spoiled.

  3. @Achim Thank you for your very passionate and critical comment, as well as the positive words for the blog! However, it is not necessarily a debate that has to be appended to the article on mini biogas plants. Therefore I would just like to say a few words on this subject.

    It is no secret that blogs in Germany are currently still struggling to achieve adequate self-financing. This is a topic that I know from many blogger colleagues. I also believe that placing advertisements in front of a specialist audience is a great opportunity, from which both the companies (linking on the company side, SEO, long-term effects) and the blogger benefit!

    There are already numerous blogs in the United States that are accepted as media and advertising partners and live entirely from this income. Of course there are other financing models for blogs (ebooks, text links, advice etc.) and as a blogger you have to find the concept that best suits you. The USA and some European countries (e.g. UK, France, Poland) are a bit ahead of Germany at this point, but I am confident that we will catch up quickly in Germany. Many companies plan to significantly increase their online marketing budget in 2012.

    If sponsored posts or advertisements appear on this blog in the future, they will continue to be recognizable as such!

    Kind regards,

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