Biogas Flows Through Germany's Grid Big Time., July 17, 2008.

"The biggest biogas plant in the world to feed gas directly into the
national gas grid is set to go into operation in eastern Germany at the
beginning of 2009.

The plant at Konnern will feed 15 million cubic meters (m) of
biomethane into the national grid for use by customers anywhere in
Germany. Experts say it is the start of a boom in biogas as the
country's energy providers increasingly look to home-produced biogas to
reduce their dependence on natural gas imported from Russia.

In 2007, there were 1280 megawatts (MW) of installed biogas capacity and
about 3,750 biogas plants in Germany.

As much as 20 percent of Germany's natural gas needs could be supplied
from biogas by 2020, according to Andrea Horbelt of the German Biogas

The boom in biogas comes thanks to a key technological breakthrough a
year ago that allowed biogas to be injected into the natural gas grid
and so transported around Germany economically, said Thomas Wilkens of
WELtec BioPower, a company that manufactures biogas units.

However, he said that the new technology was just one piece of the
puzzle. The biogas plants also have to be located in areas where there
are big enough farms to guarantee the raw materials needed to keep the
plants running.

Thirty farmers in the vicinity of Konnern will deliver 120,000 tonnes of
raw materials each year, mainly corn crops. The eight fermenting tanks
are expected to produce 30 million m of biogas per year, which will be
processed into 15 million m of biomethane.

"The biogas won't be burned to produce electricity but will be put
instead through a special process of chemical washing without pressure
so that it ends up having the same composition as natural gas and so can
be injected into the same pipelines as carry the natural gas," Wilkens

Small-scale biogas plants that use liquid manure as a raw material have
also been given a boost by a revised renewable energy law that cleared
its last parliamentary hurdle on July 4, 2008. Biogas plants of 150 KW
that use liquid manure will get EU 0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kW/h),
making them more attractive. By setting a generous tariff for manure,
the government is hoping to encourage the biogas industry to switch away
from corn and wheat amid concerns of rising food prices.

With the price of natural gas in Europe set to double in the next year
according to some economists, Europeans will be hoping the biogas boom

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society