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Partnership with Combigas

Klimadan’s partnership with biogas producer Combigas has, among others, led to the construction of a biogas plant, the first of its kind in Denmark. The use of heat pumps in a biogas plant is a new way of thinking green, and is clearly a solution that will make a positive contribution to cutting CO2 emissions in the years to come.

The new Combigas plant, located in Hemmet, near Skjern, was opened on Wednesday 29 August 2012. It was intended as a demonstration plant, to allow farmers (and others) from all over Denmark to see how slurry from pig production can be used to generate biogas. Klimadan was fortunate to be part of the project to the immense satisfaction of both parties.

“We have experienced nothing but enthusiasm and commitment right from our first contact with Klimadan, when it came to the development of our joint project. Klimadan took an active part, contributing their massive know-how within heat recovery and the design of heating plant, not to mention the constructive input they brought to areas that did not directly concern their work,” explains Klaus Høgh, Managing Director of Combigas.

Pioneering concept

The use of a decentral biogas plant by individual farmers had never been tried before. Jointly-owned plants have been more common to date, where slurry is brought in from a number of surrounding farms. A decentral biogas plant is quite the opposite. The slurry from on-site pig production is mixed with some other form of biomass, and the gas sold on.

“Politicians have mainly talked about shared biogas plants. We’re thinking along different lines, and believe that it will usually be better to move the gas than the slurry,” says Kent Skaaning, Chairman of the Board at Combigas.

This is a totally new concept never seen before, and therefore became known as the Ringkøbing-Skjern Model. Large farms produce biogas locally, and send the gas through a transmission grid to the local CHP plant and other major gas customers.

Klimadan plays an important role

But none of this would be possible without Klimadan. Four heat pumps provide heat to the plant’s reactors. Heat from the heat pumps is produced by cooling down the degassed slurry, avoiding the use of unnecessary gas resources for the actual process, which, in the final analysis, helps increase earnings, as it’s the biogas that is sold and earns the money.

The aim has always been to produce heat for the process without the use of gas, which in this instance is the actual product and therefore what we need to sell as much of as possible. Klimadan was chosen as partner, because of their massive know-how within heat recovery from slurry, and they were able to help all the way through development of the plant, including dimensioning, which is a very important part of the decision-making process.

Boosting electricity production

Biogas from the two new reactors started generating electricity on 1 September, and 1.4 million cubic metres of methane are expected to be produced using this new system, giving 5360 MWh of electricity production, enough for around 1,100 households per year. When the gas is pumped into the municipal gas mains, enough heat will be produced for the annual consumption of 325 homes.

What we have here is a plant that can be considered as a good long-term investment in terms of money and the environment. Using heat pumps also ensures Combigas better reliability, and they are easier to run and maintain than older alternatives, such as woodchip and straw boilers.

One of the first of its kind in the world

There has never been a biogas plant as precise as this one. What’s special about it is that it produces biogas and uses heat pumps for heating – a necessary part of the entire production process. Klimadan is very proud of having been part of the development team for a product with a profile so innovative that it gives biogas producers the chance to produce even more energy with even lower CO2 emissions.

The plant is also equipped to be able to utilise surplus production from wind power. Up until now, there have been a number of examples of having to shut down wind turbines at night, because their production could not be sold. The current they produce at night can now be used, providing another active means of reducing CO2 emissions even further.