The innovative biogas upgrading system, branded Bio-Up®, is specially designed for small scale application. Low investments result in a positive business case for small scale biogas upgrading. The system is designed in such a way that no additional blower is required for grid injection in the low pressure gas grid (100 mbarg). If pressurized biomethane is required for example as vehicle fuel, only the biomethane has to be compressed, whereas pressurized biogas systems, will need to compress the biogas up to its working pressure, and subsequently the upgraded biomethane. This leads to lower compressor costs and lower electricity costs for compression for the newly developed system. Additionally, commercially available systems for the production of compressed natural gas (CNG) from the local gas grid can be used.
The advantages of biomethane
Biogas production suits the agricultural sector very well, because agriculture, especially farming, produces large quantities of waste and harmful greenhouse gasses. The most suitable for small scale biogas production are farms with relatively large waste flows and a need for fertilizers on pastures. Normally these conditions can best be found best in dairy farms. Additionally small scale digestion has a significant positive effects on greenhouse gas emissions.
The utilization of the produced biogas is an important factor in the business case of small scale biogas production. Currently it is most common to use biogas in a biogas engine, producing heat and (electric) power at the same time. However, we found that generally poor heat use and high maintenance costs hamper good economic return on investment at this small scale. Upgrading the biogas to natural gas grid quality or a quality suitable for a transport fuel with Bio-Up is more promising, all energy in the biogas can be valorized.
The first Bio-Up installation is located at the Knowledge Transfer Centre De Marke, a experimental dairy farm, part of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. At De Marke, which operates as normal agricultural business, a Bio-Up system is injecting 20 m³ of biomethane every hour, based on biogas produced in an manure digester on the farm. The Bio-Up system at de Marke fully automatically upgrades biogas to biomethane and injects it into the Dutch gas grid (100 mbar(g) network) and hence fulfills all the demands for gas grid quality. This means amongst others that the higher heating value is in a small bandwidth around 35 MJ/Nm³, Wobbe bandwidth 43,46-44,41 MJ/Nm³. Higher or lower values can be obtained as required. Concentrations lower than 3% CO2 in the upgraded gas have been demonstrated in this plant.
Bio-Up is unique because of the its low methane losses (< 0.01%). Negligible methane losses where reached by designing an amine based scrubber at low pressure. The low pressure ensures that methane does not dissolve in the solvent and therefore stays within the product gas.
Bio-Up is a spin off off Cornelissen Consultancy Services (CCS) in Deventer and Greenmac (formerly Cirmac) in Nijkerk, the Netherlands. CCS is one of the pioneers in agricultural biogas, with over 15 years of experience in this field and countless agricultural biogas installations. Engineering and servicing partner Greenmac , part of The Rootselaar Group, is specialised in the design, turnkey supply and maintenance of biogas upgrading systems for 25 years.
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