Biogas can make a significant contribution to a sustainable energy system, while at the same time significantly reducing the emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in agriculture. However, the conversion of biomass to biogas currently represents a significant technical and financial investment. The EU-funded BIOGASTIGER project developed a new concept for the use of biomass, based on a modular compact biomass plant that fits into a transportable container and can be relocated without great expense and effort. “All components are standardised, premanufactured and tested before delivery for rapid installation onsite,” says Pierre Haider, project coordinator and managing director of the SME FWE Energy Solutions. At the heart of the BIOGASTIGER® system is a plug-flow fermenter constructed with the container design principle in mind. A paddle agitator ensures a constant, gentle, uniform mixing of the substrates in harmony with biological processes. This enables material with a high dry matter content to be exploited, without introducing additional liquid.
The first in Latin America
Project partners aimed to implement the anaerobic digestion technology of BIOGASTIGER® throughout Ecuador and across the rest of Latin America. Researchers therefore conducted a detailed study of the bioenergy potential of waste from local companies and how the gas can be used to replace fossil fuels in their premises. A BIOGASTIGER® industrial-scale biogas plant built in Ecuador was the first of its kind in the region – as well as a successful example of technology transfer to a rural area. It featured an automated system whose internal energy consumption and biological process are highly efficient. Thanks to the digester design and the industrial security standards, BIOGASTIGER® is a technological benchmark for revalorisation and the use of organic solid waste from agri-industries for the generation of renewable energy. “Within the energy mix, biogas is already taking on the role of an all-rounder for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind does not blow,” explains Haider.
Environmental and financial benefits
The biogas generated will replace 40 % of diesel consumption in boilers of the milling factory, considering that the industry spends about USD 1 million a year on diesel (Ecuador diesel price of USD 1.10 per gallon). The plant will produce 100 Nm3 of biogas per hour from 20 tonnes per day of mixed substrates such as rice husk with chicken manure, cocoa slime, slaughterhouse wastewater, and water hyacinth. From these amounts of substrates and organic matter, the technology will provide 558 kWth for thermal use in replacement of industrial diesel. The area of land required is half a hectare where the containers are placed, plus the plug-flow system and the biodigester, each having a capacity of 262 m3 and 1200 m3 respectively. BIOGASTIGER® will benefit customers from agriculture and the food industry, as well as energy suppliers, who represent a growing high-volume market, with more than EUR 300 million turnover per year. “Our innovative solution to produce safe, clean and carbon-neutral energy will help solve the global problem of unused organic waste streams, support the circular economy and make the world cleaner and safer,” Haider concludes.
BIOGASTIGER, biogas, organic waste, biomass, Ecuador, digester, technology transfer, carbon-neutral